Former JAG becomes federal judge


The Navy JAG Corps got a nice feather in the cap May 11 when a former Navy JAG and civilian public defender was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a U.S. district judge in Virginia’s Eastern District.

Arenda L. Wright Allen of Norfolk, nominated by President Obama in June 2010, becomes the first black female federal district judge in the state. She was confirmed on a unanimous 96-0 vote.

“I believe that the president has made an extraordinary choice in nominating Miss Wright Allen,” Sen. Jim Webb, a former Navy secretary, said on the Senate floor May 11 before the confirmation vote. “She distinguished herself as the premier candidate in a very competitive field for this vacancy. She has displayed during her career the highest degree of integrity, competence and commitment to the rule of law. She exemplifies the best of the Virginia bar and in fact, she received the highest ranking from the Virginia State Bar.”

Allen, 50, was commissioned in 1984. After earning her law degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1985, Allen served as an active-duty Navy lawyer for five years, various other assignments, and as a reservist for an additional 12 years before retiring as a commander in 2005. She also served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1990 to 2005, when she became a federal public defender.


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