U.S. District (Maryland) Judge Andre M. Davis was officially sworn in as judge to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 30, completing a journey more than a decade in the making.

The seat now held by Davis had been vacant for 10 years since the passing of Judge Francis D. Murnaghan in 2000. Davis was originally nominated to the bench at the end of President Clinton’s second term in office, but was never confirmed when Democrats fell out of power during the George W. Bush administration.

Bush nominated three judges to fill the vacancy, but each time the process stalled in conflicts with Democratic senators–including some from Maryland.

President Obama nominated Davis again in early April of last year. The Senate voted 72-to-16 to confirm him last November.

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), who presided over Davis’ confirmation hearing, joined Davis for his official investiture, and expressed his pleasure at one of Maryland’s native sons finally being elevated to the position.

“This day has been a decade in the making and I am proud to join Judge Davis for this important ceremony,” Cardin said in a statement. “He will be an asset to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and a source of pride to all Marylanders. For 22 years, Judge Davis has served as an exceptional jurist with a clear appreciation for the Constitution and a demonstrated commitment to protect civil rights and civil liberties. Born and raised in Baltimore, he has been praised by lawyers in Maryland as a smart, evenhanded, fair, and open-minded judge.”

Davis has been a judge for nearly 23 years. He was appointed to the Maryland State District Court in August of 1987 before being elected to the state’s circuit court in 1992. He was confirmed to a federal district court position in 1995.

Davis will now be one of 13 circuit court judges on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and becomes the third African-American on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, alongside Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Allyson Duncan and Roger Gregory. The court covers the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.