The U. S. Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 to confirm Arenda L. Wright Allen ’85 of Norfolk, Virginia to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.
Nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama late last year, Wright Allen’s appointment makes her the first African American female judge to serve in that district. Prior to this appointment, Wright Allen served as a federal Public Defender in Norfolk and served as an Assistant United States Attorney.
Virginia Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner recommended Wright Allen to the post. In a statement after the Senate vote, Webb said, “Sen. Warner and I recommended Arenda Wright Allen to serve on the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia based on her exceptional qualifications and impressive record in the Norfolk community. She not only received the highest ratings from Virginia’s bar associations, but she has a wide breadth of experience, starting with her service as a JAG officer in the Navy. She is highly regarded for both her prosecutorial and criminal defense work.”
Wright Allen replaces U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman, who is going into partial retirement. Before becoming a public defender in 2005, Wright Allen was an Assistant U.S. Attorney between 1990 and 2005. She was in the Navy JAG Corps for five years on active duty, then as a reservist for 12 years. In 1982, Wright Allen received a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown State College, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from NCCU School of Law in 1985.