Born:  1946
North Central Ohio

Summary by
John V. Geise, Esq.

Interviews Conducted by
Cecil Hunt, Esq.

 Hon. John Robert Fisher

Oral History Text & Documentation

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Oral History Summary


Judge John R. Fisher was Appointed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

Judge Fisher, son of the late George and Helen Fisher, was born and raised in Knox County, Ohio, graduated from Fredericktown High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1968. He then served as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army, spending one year in South Vietnam. After his military service, Judge Fisher attended Harvard Law School, receiving his law degree cum laude in 1974.

Following law school, Judge Fisher clerked for two years for the Honorable Joseph P. Kinneary, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. He came to the District of Columbia in 1976 to join the United States Attorney’s Office, serving in a variety of trial, grand jury, and appellate assignments from 1976 until 1983. Judge Fisher then served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio form 1983 to 1986.  In 1986, he became Of Counsel to the law form of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, in Columbus, Ohio, where he specialized in complex civil litigation.

Judge Fisher returned to Washington, D.C. in 1989 to become Chief of the Appellate Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a position he held for over sixteen years. In this capacity, he supervised criminal appeals in the D.C.Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, managed the work of a forth-five person division, and briefed and argued appeals, including sixteen en banc cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals or the D.C. Circuit.

As Chief, Judge Fisher also emphasized the concept of “preventative appellate advocacy”-appellate attorneys providing advice and guidance to trial lawyers to prevent some troublesome issues from arising on appeal.

Judge Fisher has worked on bar committees dealing with the Rules of Professional Conduct. He served for six years as a member of the D.C. Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee. He also served on the Advisory Committee on Procedures of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was Treasurer of Washington Farm United Methodist Church for five years.

Judge Fisher has received the Harold Sullivan Award from the Assistant United States Attorneys Association, a Director’s Award for Executive Achievement from the Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, and the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for Handling of Appeals from the Attorney General of the United States, among other recognition.

Judge Fisher is married to Margaret Fisher, who is an instructional assistant focusing on character education at an elementary school in Fairfax County. They have two children.

Courtesy of the Fisher Family