Wendy Beetlestone
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Assumed office
November 21, 2014
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byMichael Baylson
Chancellor of the University of Liverpool
Assumed office
Preceded byColm Tóibín
Personal details
Born (1961-04-04) April 4, 1961 (age 62)
Ibadan, Nigeria
EducationUniversity of Liverpool (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (JD)

Wendy Beetlestone (born April 4, 1961) is a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


Beetlestone was born in Ibadan, Nigeria[1] to a British father, John Beetlestone, who was a chemistry professor at the University of Ibadan, and an American mother, Clare Watson.[2][3] She attended the International School Ibadan and later Rishworth School in Yorkshire.[citation needed] In 1984, Beetlestone graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Liverpool. In 1993, she earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.[4]

She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Robert S. Gawthrop III, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, from 1993 to 1994. From 1994 to 2002, she worked at the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, LLP, becoming a partner in 2001. From 2002 to 2005, she served as general counsel of the School District of Philadelphia. From 2005 to 2014, she had been a shareholder at the law firm of Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin & Schiller, where she litigated a variety of commercial matters before both Federal and State courts.[4][5] In 2023, she was announced as the next chancellor of the University of Liverpool. She is the University’s eleventh chancellor and the institution’s first female and first black chancellor.[6]

Federal judicial service

On June 16, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Beetlestone to serve as a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to the seat vacated by Judge Michael Baylson, who assumed senior status on July 13, 2012.[7] On July 24, 2014, a hearing on her nomination was held before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[8] On September 18, 2014, her nomination was reported out of committee by a voice vote.[9] On November 19, 2014, the United States Senate invoked cloture on her nomination by a 58–38 vote.[10] On November 20, 2014, her nomination was confirmed by a voice vote.[11] She received her judicial commission on November 21, 2014.[5]

On December 15, 2017, Beetlestone issued a nationwide injunction prohibiting the enforcement of regulations that allowed employers to refuse to cover contraception in their employees' insurance plans if they have either religious objections to birth control or “sincerely held moral convictions” against it.[12] “It is difficult,” Judge Beetlestone wrote, “to comprehend a rule that does more to undermine the contraceptive mandate or that intrudes more into the lives of women.”[13] Judge Beetlestone issued a second nationwide injunction after President Trump issued revised rules.[14] On July 8, 2020, these decisions were overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Jude Egbas (December 18, 2017). "Hello Ibadan, a US Judge born in your city just made history". The Pulse. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  2. ^ Wendy Beetlestone (February 8, 2017). "John Beetlestone obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  3. ^ The University of Liverpool (March 14, 2018). "US District Judge Wendy Beetlestone returns to "gritty" city she loved". Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Five to Serve on the United States District Courts". whitehouse.gov. June 13, 2014 – via National Archives.
  5. ^ a b Wendy Beetlestone at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  6. ^ "United States District Judge Wendy Beetlestone appointed University Chancellor - University of Liverpool News". January 18, 2023.
  7. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov. June 16, 2014 – via National Archives.
  8. ^ "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary". www.judiciary.senate.gov. July 24, 2014.
  9. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – September 18, 2014 United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary" (PDF).
  10. ^ "On the Cloture Motion (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Nomination of Wendy Beetlestone, of Pennsylvania, to be U.S. District Judge)". United States Senate. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  11. ^ "PN1774 — Wendy Beetlestone — The Judiciary". congress.gov. Retrieved November 5, 2022.
  12. ^ Greenhouse, Carol (December 21, 2017). "Why Judges Matter". New York Times.
  13. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump, et al., 17-cv-4965, slip op. (December 15, 2017), available at https://static01.nyt.com/opinion/contributors/Pennsylvaniav.Trump.pdf
  14. ^ Goldstein, Amy. "Judge blocks Trump effort to roll back birth-control mandate nationwide". Washington Post.
  15. ^ Barnes, Robert (July 8, 2020). "Supreme Court says employers may opt out of Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate over religious, moral objections". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
Legal offices Preceded byMichael Baylson Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania 2014–present Incumbent