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Judge Peter Messitte

Guest Speaker

Professional affiliation

Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland; Director of the Brazil-U.S. Legal & Judicial Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law

Full Biography

Judge Peter J. Messitte is a Senior U.S. Judge at the Greenbelt Division for the District of Maryland. After being nominated by President Bill Clinton, he was confirmed by the United States Senate in October 1993.

Before his nomination to the U.S. District Court, he practiced law in Chevy Chase, Maryland (1971-1985) and served as an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland (1985-1993).

He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College in 1963 and his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1966. After his Juris Doctor, he spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in São Paulo, Brazil where, among other things, he taught a course on Comparative Law at the University of São Paulo Law School. In June of 2017, Judge Messitte was awarded the Order of the Southern Cross (Ordem do Cruzeiro do Sul) by Brazilian President Michel Temer for his contributions to the Brazilian Judiciary over almost 50 years. This is the highest award Brazil can bestow upon a non-Brazilian and has been given primarily to heads of state, including Queen Elizabeth and President Dwight Eisenhower.