Eugene R. Sullivan (born August 2, 1941) is a retired Federal Judge in Washington D.C. with over 16 years of appellate experience. In 1986 was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush named him the Chief Judge. In 2002, he was took Senior Status. When not recalled to active court service, Judge Sullivan is a senior partner in the D.C. law firm of Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP.
Born in St Louis, Missouri, Judge Sullivan graduated from St. Louis University High School before matriculating to the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, where he was a member of the Cadet Honor Committee and the varsity lacrosse team. Following graduation, he served in the Army for five years and qualified as a tanker, an Airborne Ranger, a Ranger Instructor and a Jumpmaster. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and other decorations in Vietnam. Judge Sullivan has been inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame.
After the Army, Judge Sullivan graduated from Georgetown University Law Center, serving as an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal in his senior year. After law school Judge Sullivan clerked for Chief Judge Marion Charles Matthes of the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and worked for the Patton Boggs law firm in Washington, D.C.
Judge Sullivan served in the White House on the legal defense team of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate investigation in 1974. From 1974 to 1982, he was a trial attorney in the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. From 1982 until he became a Federal Judge in 1986, Judge Sullivan served in the Pentagon as the General Counsel and the Chief Ethics Officer of the U.S. Air Force after serving initially as the Deputy General Counsel.
From 1982 until 1986, Judge Sullivan was the General Counsel of the National Reconnaissance Office (“NRO”—a then secret US satellite intelligence agency). In addition, in 1984-1986, he served as the Governor of Wake Island (the U.S. possession in the Pacific). In 1988 and 1989, Judge Sullivan served on the Federal Commission to review the West Point Honor Code. He is a Trustee Emeritus and the founding Chair of the Ethics Committee of the West Point Board of Trustees (Association of Graduates) and served on the first Executive Board of the Duke University Law School Center for Law, Ethics and National Security.
Judge Sullivan has given many lectures on American law to visiting international judges and lawyers. For many years, he was the chair of three annual conferences: the International Judicial Conference (Criminal Law), the Great Debate (a debate on judicial reform) between the USA and England, and the International Diplomatic Conference. During his career in promoting the rule of law, Judge Sullivan has been awarded the Medal of Justice from Romania, the First Class Medal of Defense from Hungary, the Defense Minister’s Citation of Merit from the Republic of China, an honorary Doctor of Law degree from New England School of Law, the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal, the Medal for Outstanding Public Service from the U.S. Department of Defense, and the 2001 Castle Award from the West Point Society (DC). The Castle Award is given to one West Point graduate each year. Judge Sullivan is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
He has authored two published novels, both political thrillers: The Majority Rules (2005) and The Report to the Judiciary (2008), and is the Chair of the Judging Panel for the annual International Impac Dublin Literary Award (100,000 Euros for a single work of fiction).
Judge Sullivan is married to Lis Sullivan from Denmark, who is an artist and anthropologist (her field—bound-foot women of China). Their daughter, Kim, is a graduate of Columbia University, attended graduate school at Columbia University, and works as an ABC producer in New York City; Eugene II, their son, works as a litigator in Washington DC and is a graduate of Duke University, The London School of Economics, and Columbia Law.
After taking senior status as a judge, Sullivan founded the Gavel Consulting Group, which consists of former federal judges (most of whom have held additional high government office). A Washington Post article pointed out that Sullivan's interest in a private company such as this could conflict with federal laws that prohibit judges from profiting from their office. Sullivan responded that he was no longer in active status as a judge and that this activity was permitted under the federal statute governing his court. The article also noted that Sullivan is the firm's sole owner, whereas the other members are "advisers" who have no ownership stake.