Arenda L. Wright Allen

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Arenda Allen
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Incumbent
Assumed office
May 12, 2011
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Jerome Friedman
Personal details
Born 1960 (age 53–54)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s) Delroy Anthony Allen
Children Yanni Allen
Nyle Allen
Alma mater Kutztown University
North Carolina Central University
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1985–2005
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Commander
Unit Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps

Arenda Lauretta Wright Allen (born 1960) is a United States federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The United States Senate confirmed her nomination on May 11, 2011 in a 96–0 vote.[1] She received her judicial commission on May 12, 2011.[2] She formerly worked as an Assistant United States Attorney and a federal Public Defender in Norfolk, Virginia.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Philadelphia, Wright Allen graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania (then called Kutztown State College) with her Bachelor's degree in 1982 and later from North Carolina Central University, School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1985.

In May 2013, Wright Allen was awarded an honorary doctorate from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania [3]

Legal career[edit]

Wright Allen started her legal career as a JAG officer in the United States Navy as an active duty officer between 1985 and 1990 and in the United States Navy Reserve between 1992 and 2005. She was an assistant U.S. attorney in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia from 2001 to 2005. Wright Allen joined the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2005, where she had served as a Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender until becoming a federal judge in 2011.[4]

Nomination to the federal court[edit]

On the recommendation of Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner, Wright Allen was nominated to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by President Barack Obama on December 1, 2010 to a seat vacated Jerome B. Friedman, who assumed senior status on November 30, 2010.[5]

The United States Senate confirmed Wright Allen on May 11, 2011 in a 96–0 vote.[6] She received her judicial commission the following day.

Overturning Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban[edit]

On February 13, 2014, Judge Wright Allen overturned Virginia's statutory same-sex marriage ban, finding the ban unconstitutional.[7] In her ruling, Judge Wright Allen indavertently attributed the principle that "all men are created equal" to the Constitution, rather than the Declaration of Independence - an error which she corrected in a subsequent amended ruling.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Allen is married to Delroy Allen, a retired Jamaican-American soccer player.[9]

References[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Jerome Friedman
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
2011–present
Incumbent