Appointed: January 27, 1986
Michael Lee Rankin, originally from Holly Springs, Mississippi, was educated at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1967, and at the Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C., where he received a Juris Doctor Degree in 1970. He was admitted by examination to the Bar of the District of Columbia on December 8, 1970.
Shortly after graduating from law school, Michael Rankin entered active duty in the United States Army, leaving a position as staff attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. While on active duty he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, JAG Corps, serving in the Republic of Viet Nam.
Upon completing military service, Mr. Rankin worked briefly as Attorney-Advisor, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Economic Opportunity. For the next four years he was a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia. On May 3, 1976, he was appointed Assistant Federal Public Defender in the District of the Virgin Islands, and in August 1976 was named Acting Federal Public Defender. In the fall of 1978, he returned to the District of Columbia and entered private practice with Wesley Williams Associates where he practiced until June 1980, when he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney of the District of Columbia. In that office Michael Rankin served in both the United States District Court and in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
Additionally, in the fall of 1981, he was detailed as a Special Assistant to the United States Attorney in the District of the Virgin Islands. From December 1984 until his nomination to the Superior Court he served as Deputy Chief in the Felony Trial Division of the United States Attorney’s Office.