Chris Middleton, RBS 2012 is halfway through his time as a law clerk in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. The courtroom that I work in has a lengthy and significant connection to the civil rights movement. Specifically, I’m in the former courtroom and chambers of Judge Frank Johnson. Judge Johnson presided over notable cases that included allowing the Selma to Montgomery March to take place and ruling for Rosa Parks, thus ending racial segregation on public buses in Montgomery. Judge Johnson also issued opinions that ordered the racial integration of public and civic life in Alabama. His decisions protected voting rights for Black people, ensured Black women and men were able to serve on juries, and ruled in favor of protecting the rights of prisoners. Judge Myron Thompson succeeded him, and Chris has had the honor and responsibility of working here since this past August. As Chris hopes to have a career as a civil rights attorney, it has been a blessing to start his legal career in a place that has such a proud legacy. Chris is also grateful to be a lot closer to his two hometowns of Hot Coffee, MS and Newport News, VA after not being able to visit during the heights of the pandemic.
Chris will be heading back to the Bay Area at the end of his clerkship to start his fellowship at the Youth Law Center (YLC) in San Francisco. At YLC he will primarily pursue impact litigation and policy advocacy opportunities to support California’s queer youth in foster care, group homes, institutions/facilities, and juvenile detention. He will focus on two goals, (1) improving the provision of mental healthcare and gender affirming care and (2) decreasing discrimination and abuse that is based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and/or gender identity.
In his free time, Chris enjoys hiking, camping, and baking Southern desserts. He is also beginning to rediscover the joy of being in cinemas, theaters, listening to live music, and just being in crowded places again. Chris has also utilized his weekends to explore the South and welcomes suggestions of cities or places he should explore during his last few months in Montgomery.