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Are Judicial Robes Optional dress for cases in Federal Court in Western District of Michigan ?

Wyoming, MI |

Is a judge operating without jurisdiction and operating in a personal capacity if not wearing his or her robe during a proceeding commonly referred to as a trial in Federal court in the State of Michigan ? I have conflicting information. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 7

Best Answer

Not wearing a robe does not divest the judge of his authority. However, he or she can be reprimanded by the chief judge or state court administrator in cases of state judges.


I never heard of a judicial robe being anything but costuming in this day and age, nor ever heard of the absence of a robe mattering with respect to the question whether a judge was acting in his or her judicial capacity or not.

Not legal advice, just general information. Consult Michigan counsel to obtain legal advice. I practice in Vermont ONLY.


I practiced in Michigan for awhile and I am still admitted there, I can't recall seeing a judge take the bench without a robe on, but I am not aware of any rule that would void there rulings if they did so? What does it matter, are you trying to void an unfavorable ruling?

Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.


I have never seen a federal court judge (or state court judge for that matter) take the bench without a robe. However, the robe does not vest the judge with authority and the lack of a robe does not divest the judge of any authority.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.


I knew a judge who would NEVER wear a robe; he said it a costume and he is not about to wear a white wig either. If the best defense your case has is that you think the judge should have been wearing a robe, you had better keep thinking. That is a non issue.


It is the judicial office, not the robe, which vests authority in the judge. I am glad that they do not make attorneys wear wigs in the courtroom. It is hot in the summer.

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A Federal judge — nominated by the President of the United States, and confirmed by at least 51 sitting US Senators — derives his or her authority from the Constitution, not a glorified black bedsheet.

If this is the best you have, you a grasping at far less than straws.