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judge bernice donaldObama nominates Judge Bernice Bouie Donald for seat on US Court of Appeals

Today, President Obama nominated Judge Bernice Bouie Donald for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Donald currently serves as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.

"Judge Donald has shown an outstanding commitment to public service throughout her career and as a District Judge in Tennessee," President Obama said. "I am proud to nominate her today for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals and I am confident she will serve the American people with distinction."

Judge Bernice Bouie Donald is a distinguished jurist with over 28 years of judicial experience. For the past 15 years, she has served as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.

Judge Donald was born and raised in Desoto County, Mississippi. In the 1960s, Judge Donald was one of the first students to integrate Olive Branch High School. In 1974, she graduated from Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) and in 1979 she received her law degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at Memphis State University.

After graduating from law school, Judge Donald worked briefly as a sole practitioner before accepting a position as a staff attorney at Memphis Area Legal Services, where she provided legal assistance to low-income individuals. In 1981, she joined the Shelby County Public Defender's Office. In 1982, Judge Donald was elected to serve as a judge on the Court of General Sessions in Shelby County, making her the first female African-American judge in the history of Tennessee.

She has served as the past chair of the JAD Task Force on Opportunities for Minorities in the Judiciary, former member American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Gavel Awards, ABA Museum of Law Board of Directors, Chair, Occupational Stress in the Judiciary Planning Conference. Judge Donald has served on the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Women's Bar Associations, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, and Director American Bar Foundation among others.

Judge Donald has been recognized for many of her trailblazing efforts. She was the first elected African American female judge in the history of the state of Tennessee. She was the first appointed African American Female Bankruptcy Judge in the United States.

Judge Donald currently serves as the Secretary of the American Bar Association.

Published December 1, 2010

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