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Timothy Tymkovich

Timothy Tymkovich
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Assumed office
October 1, 2015
Preceded by Mary Beck Briscoe
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Assumed office
April 1, 2003
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by John Porfilio
Personal details
Born (1956-11-02) November 2, 1956
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Alma mater Colorado College
University of Colorado, Boulder

Timothy Michael Tymkovich (born November 2, 1956) is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.


  • Background 1
  • Tenth Circuit nomination and confirmation 2
  • Notable Cases 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Born in Denver, Colorado, Tymkovich received a B.A. from Colorado College in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Colorado College of Law in 1982. He then clerked for the Hon. William Erickson, Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, from 1982 to 1983.

From 1983 to 1991, Tymkovich worked in private practice in Denver and Washington, D.C. In 1991, Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton appointed him Solicitor General of the State of Colorado. Tymkovich served in that position until 1996, arguing several cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. The most notable of these was the Romer v. Evans case, in which he unsuccessfully represented Colorado in its argument that Colorado's Amendment 2 (which revoked local legal protections for members of the LGBT community) was not a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. He then returned to private practice in Denver.

Tenth Circuit nomination and confirmation

President Bill Clinton previously had nominated Christine Arguello for the seat, but she never received a hearing or a vote from the U.S. Senate. Tymkovich was confirmed swiftly by the United States Senate in a 58-41 vote less than two months later on April 1, 2003, and he received his commission the same day. Tymkovich replaced Judge John Carbone Porfilio, who took senior status. He became Chief Judge on October 1, 2015.[1]

Notable Cases

Lewis v. Burger King, No. 09-2160 (10th Cir. 2009) -- In an unpublished opinion written by Judge Tymkovich, the Tenth Circuit held that animals lack standing to sue.

United States v. McCane, 573 F.3d 1037 (10th Cir. 2009) -- Markice McCane was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). On appeal, he contended that the felon-in-possession statute was unconstitutional in light of District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008). But the Tenth Circuit affirmed the conviction after noting the statement in Heller that "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons." 128 S.Ct. at 2816-17. In a concurring opinion, Judge Tymkovich expressed concern that the statement “short-circuits at least some of the analysis and refinement that would otherwise take place in the lower courts,” particularly since the statement was based on a possibly questionable premise—that the felony-in-possession prohibition was longstanding.

Guttman v. Khalsa, No. 10-2167 (10th Cir. 2012) -- Dr. Stuart Guttman brought suit under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 after the New Mexico Board of Medical Examiners revoked his medical license. In an opinion written by Judge Tymkovich, the Tenth Circuit held that the Eleventh Amendment protected States from lawsuits based on professional licensing decisions.

United States v. Strandlof, No. 13-1358 (10th Cir. 2012) -- Rick Glen Strandlof was convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act, 18 U.S.C. § 704(b), which makes it illegal to falsely claim to have received a military award or honor. In an opinion written by Judge Tymkovich, the Tenth Circuit held that the First Amendment does not protect knowingly false statements of fact. In United States v. Alvarez (2012), the Supreme Court held that the Act was unconstitutional, although a majority of justices held that lies about easily verifiable facts (e.g., receiving military honors) are outside the core of First Amendment protection.[2]

Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, No. 12-6294 (10th Cir. 2013) -- For-profit corporations Hobby Lobby and Mardel Christian Bookstores could assert religious freedom as "persons" under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


  1. ^ "Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich Becomes Chief Judge".  
  2. ^

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Mary Beck Briscoe
Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Preceded by
John Porfilio
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
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