Judge Joel Dubina

Honorable Joel F. Dubina

May 6, 2002

Judge Joel F. Dubina

It is impossible to overstate the respect that the practicing bar had for Judge Dubina as a trial judge. He was the perfect judge--fair, efficient and respectful of the parties and their lawyers.

Fair, efficient, and respectful of the parties and their lawyers, Hon. Joel F. Dubina has served as a U.S. magistrate judge, as a U.S. district judge, and now as chief judge for the Eleventh Circuit. After a successful career in private practice, during which he earned the esteem of the bar, he has become one of the nation’s most respected federal judges.

Joel Dubina attended the University of Alabama and graduated from the Cumberland School of Law in 1973. He then clerked for Judge Robert E. Varner of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery. During the next 10 years of private practice, Dubina earned a reputation in Montgomery and throughout Alabama as a smart, collegial, and effective federal litigator. He became president of the Montgomery Chapter of the Federal Bar Association before accepting an appointment as a U.S. magistrate judge in 1983. He served the bench in that role until 1986, when President Ronald Reagan appointed Judge Dubina to fill Judge Varner’s former position on the district court bench in Montgomery. President George H.W. Bush elevated Judge Dubina to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 1990. In 2010, Chief Justice Roberts appointed Chief Judge Dubina to serve as a member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which is the senior executive arm of the Judicial Conference.

Judge Dubina has reviewed many important cases, one of which was the was the case of six-year-old Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy who was rescued at sea after the boat carrying his mother and others who were escaping from Cuba sank. Another major case in which Judge Dubina was involved was the dispute over the recount of the ballots in Florida during the disputed 2000 presidential election. Judge Dubina participated en banc in reviewing the Miami district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction that would have stopped local county officials from recounting the ballots by hand.

Chief Judge Dubina enjoys living in Montgomery with his wife, and they both like traveling to exotic mountaintops around the world. He has climbed Mount Rainier, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount La Conte. The ascent of Kilimanjaro was led by Eric Simonson, a noted climber with International Mountain who was featured in National Geographic magazine. The teams that climbed Mount La Conte at different times have included Judges Ed Carnes, Susan H. Black, and Frank M. Hull—all fellow judges on the Eleventh Circuit.

The judge enjoys fishing and hunting, and the Dubina home contains a game room boasting trophies that rival those of any other sportsman. Other judges regard Chief Judge Dubina as a gregarious and respectful colleague. Members of the bar know him as a careful, thoughtful, and courteous panelist. His law clerks know him as a loyal friend and mentor, teaching the values of fairness and diligence by example.