James K. Bredar

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James Kelleher Bredar
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Assumed office
October 6, 2017
Preceded byCatherine C. Blake
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Assumed office
December 17, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byJ. Frederick Motz
Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
In office
1998 – December 17, 2010
Personal details
James Kelleher Bredar

(1957-02-06) February 6, 1957 (age 62)
Omaha, Nebraska
EducationHarvard College (B.A.)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)

James Kelleher Bredar (born February 6, 1957) is a United States District Judge in the District of Maryland, a position he has held since 2010. He became Chief Judge in 2017. He previously served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the same district.

Early life and education[edit]

Bredar was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1957, and he was raised in Denver, Colorado where he attended parochial and public schools. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 from Harvard College and a Juris Doctor degree in 1982 from the Georgetown University Law Center. From 1981 until 1982 he was a Visiting Student at the Yale Law School.[1]


Bredar clerked for Judge Richard P. Matsch of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. He next served as a Deputy District Attorney in Moffat County, Colorado (1984–1985), and as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Colorado (1985–1989). He later served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of Colorado (1989–1991). During 1991 and 1992, Bredar served as a project director for the Vera Institute of Justice, a research organization based in New York. Bredar served in London, England. Bredar served as the Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland (1992–1998).[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Bredar served as a United States Magistrate Judge from 1998 until 2010. On April 21, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Bredar to become United States District Judge for the District of Maryland.[2] His nomination was approved by the full Senate of the 111th United States Congress on December 16, 2010.[3][4] He received his commission on December 17, 2010 and was sworn in on December 22, 2010.[1] He has served as Chief Judge since October 6, 2017.

Notable cases[edit]

In April 2017, Judge Bredar approved a consent decree signed by the Mayor of Baltimore; the Baltimore Police Department; and the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division. The consent decree called for major reforms within the police department. Negotiation of the decree had followed an investigation by the Department of Justice of the police department, as requested by the city in 2015. Judge Bredar denied a request by then-recently appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to postpone signing for thirty days in order to give the new administration time to review the decree; Judge Bredar said the Court was satisfied with the decree and that it was time to get the changes underway.[5][6]

Judge Bredar was one of three judges assigned to a case captioned Benisek v. Lamone, No. 1:13-cv-03233-JKB (D. Md.).[7] The case challenged Maryland's 2011 congressional redistricting map, and specifically Maryland's 6th congressional district, as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. The district court entered summary judgment in Plaintiffs' favor in late 2018, and the case is currently pending review before the United States Supreme Court. In an opinion at an earlier stage in the proceedings, Judge Bredar noted that "[p]artisan gerrymandering is noxious, a cancer on our democracy."[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Bredar, James Kelleher – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  2. ^ "President Obama Names Five to the United States District Court". White House Office of the Press Secretary. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  3. ^ Phillip, Abby (16 December 2010). "Senate confirms judicial nominees". Politico. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  4. ^ Pres. Nom. 1653, 111th Cong. (2010).
  5. ^ Kevin Rector, "Federal judge approves Baltimore policing consent decree, denying Justice Department request for delay", Baltimore Sun, 07 April 2017; accessed 22 April 2017
  6. ^ Victor, Daniel (8 April 2017). "Judge Approves Consent Decree to Overhaul Baltimore Police Dept". The New York Times. p. A18. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Benisek v. Lamone - SCOTUSblog".
  8. ^ Kunzelman, Michael (November 7, 2018). "Judges Order Maryland to Draw New Congressional Map for 2020". US News and World Report. Associated Press. Retrieved November 8, 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
J. Frederick Motz
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Preceded by
Catherine C. Blake
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland