Vanessa Diane Gilmore (born October 1956) is a judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She was appointed to this position by President Clinton in 1994. At that time, she was the youngest sitting federal judge in the United States. She was also the first graduate of the University of Houston to be appointed to the federal bench.
In 1982, Gilmore began a 13-year tenure at a Houston law firm where she specialized in civil litigation. Gilmore also became an active member of the Houston civic community, serving on the boards of a number of civic and charitable organizations. She also became involved in the Texas political arena while serving as counsel and teacher in the area of election law.
Her civic activities outside of the courtroom brought her to the attention of Governor Ann Richards who in 1991 appointed Gilmore to the Texas Department of Commerce Policy Board, where she also served as chairperson from 1992 to 1994. Her appointment to that board made Judge Gilmore the first African-American to serve on this board responsible for increasing business and tourism and job training development in Texas. In 1993, she also served as chairperson of Texans for NAFTA. In this capacity, she worked regularly with diplomatic leaders, including the President of Mexico, to increase U.S. trade opportunities
In 2005 she presided over the Enron Broadband trial, in which she declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a consensus.
Motivated in part by her own experiences and those of other women and families who struggle with work/life integration, she decided to write about adoption. Her latest novel, "Saving the Dream" (available at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-the-dream-vanessa-d-gilmore/1111073628?ean=9781469126920) is the story of a young woman and her decision to have her baby or give it up for adoption. It alternately explores the life that her son lived with his birth mother and the life he might have lived with his adoptive mother. Ultimately it asks readers to consider how the dreams of each mother impact her life, his life and the lives of other people he meets in his life journey.
She is also the author of a children's book entitled "A Boy Named Rocky: A Coloring Book for the Children of Incarcerated Parents" and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on issues related to these children and their families. She has assisted with and instituted initiatives to help these families with access to resources for their children, including the development of a legal clinic at Texas Southern University. Her second book, “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: Tales From a Judicial Diva”, is an autobiographical look at her life on and off the bench (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you-cant-make-this-stuff-up-vanessa-d-gilmore/1029639441?ean=9781453569528).
She is the recipient of numerous civic awards for community service and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Hampton University.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vanessa Gilmore.|
- US District Court Page
- Brief in Houston Chronicle
- Procedures of Gilmore's court (PDF)
- Houston Law Center article
- Saving the Dream