Hon. Charles Erdmann '75 to Deliver Commencement Address
The Honorable Charles "Chip" Erdmann, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, will deliver the commencement address at the School of Law 2016 graduation and hooding ceremony on Saturday, May 21, 2016.
Judge Erdmann is a 1972 graduate of Montana State University-Billings and a 1975 graduate of the School of Law.
He interrupted his college studies in 1966 for a three-year enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps. He resumed his military career in 1981 when he was commissioned as a JAG officer in the Montana Air National Guard. During his Reserve career, he held a variety of positions at the state and national levels. He retired from the Air Guard in 2002 as a Colonel.
Chief Judge Erdmann commenced his civilian legal career as an assistant state attorney general in Montana. He subsequently opened a private practice of law in Helena, Montana, as a sole practitioner, eventually building a full service law firm which he operated until he was appointed to the Montana Supreme Court as an Associate Justice.
In 1998 Chief Judge Erdmann joined the Office of High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and initially worked on establishing the first anti-corruption unit in Bosnia. He then coordinated the international community’s judicial reform efforts and later was named the Head of the OHR Human Rights and Rule of Law Department. In that position he was responsible for: judicial reform/rule of law; support for human rights institutions, civil society and NGOs; public education; property rights; and domestic war crimes trials.
In 2000 he was appointed Chief Judge of the Bosnian Election Court, thus becoming the first American international judge in Bosnia. Chief Judge Erdmann served as the Chief Judge until those responsibilities were transferred to the Bosnian Supreme Court in 2001. Chief Judge Erdmann then worked as a judicial reform and international law consultant in Serbia and Bosnia.
He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in October 2002. Since his appointment, Chief Judge Erdmann has remained active in a variety of international judicial reform/rule of law activities.