Vanessa Lynne Bryant

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Vanessa Lynne Bryant
Vanessa Lynne Bryant.JPG
Judge of United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
Assumed office
April 2, 2007
Nominated by George W. Bush
Preceded by Dominic J. Squatrito
Personal details
Born 1954 (age 60–61)
Queens, New York
Alma mater Howard University
University of Connecticut School of Law

Vanessa Lynne Bryant (born 1954) is a district judge for the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. She joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.

Early life and education[edit]

She was born in Queens, New York,[1] went to Marina High School in Huntington Beach, and graduated from Howard University with her bachelor's degree in 1975[1] and later from University of Connecticut School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1978.[1]

Legal career[edit]

Bryant was in private practice at Day, Berry and Howard (presently Day, Pitney) in Hartford, Connecticut from 1978-1981.[1] During the period from 1981 to 1989 she was a counsel to Aetna Life & Casualty Company[1] and to Shawmut Bank from 1989 to 1990.[1] She was the vice president and general counsel to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority from 1990 to 1992,[1] and in 1991 joined the Connecticut board of pardons, which she stayed on until 1998.[1] She was counsel to, and later a partner of, the New York based law firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood from 1992 to 1998[1] and the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut, Bridgeport division from 1996 until she was appointed a Connecticut Superior Court Judge on September 1, 1998.[1] She was also presiding judge of the New Britain Judicial District from 2002 to 2004, and then the Hartford Judicial District from 2006 until her appointment as a federal judge in 2007.

In her capacity as a Superior Court Judge she served as Presiding Judge of the Civil Division of the New Britain Judicial District from 2002 to 2003, Administrative Judge for the Judicial District of Litchfield from 2003 to 2005 and Presiding Judge for the Civil Division of the Judicial District of Hartford from 2006 until her appointment to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Judge Bryant was the 38th person appointed a District Judge in Connecticut and the first African American woman appointed a federal judge in New England.

During her tenure as a State Court Judge, Bryant received four judicial review complaints.[2]

Federal Judicial Career[edit]

On July 19, 2006, The American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary issued a finding of "Not Qualified" for Vanessa Bryant with respect to the recommendation for her appointment to the Federal bench.[3] Factors investigated by the American Bar Association included intellectual capacity, judgment, writing and analytic ability, knowledge of the law, breadth of professional experience, courtroom experience, character, integrity, open mindedness, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias, commitment to equal justice under the law and general reputation in the legal community.[3] The American Bar Association's conclusion that Vanessa Bryant was "Not Qualified" to serve as a federal judge was based on 100 judges and attorneys being contacted among whom 65 were interviewed.[3] The majority of those interviewed, both lawyers and judges, raised concerns about Vanessa Bryant's judicial temperament and professional competence.[3]

Additionally, the State Bar of Connecticut likewise found Vanessa Bryant "Not Qualified" to serve as a federal judge. Dozens of additional Connecticut practicing attorneys voiced their concerns about her qualifications. It was widely held that Vanessa Bryant's chief qualification was her race and gender.[4]

Despite being overwhelmingly rated as "Not Qualified" by the American Bar Association, the Connecticut State Bar and dozens of Connecticut practicing attorneys and judges, in 2007, Bryant was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut by President George W. Bush on January 9, 2007 to a seat vacated by Dominic J. Squatrito.[5] Bryant was confirmed by the Senate on March 28, 2007 on a Senate vote and received her commission on April 2, 2007.[5]

In October 2011, Judge Bryant was rated the worst judge in the United States by practicing attorneys on "The Robing Room", a website in which attorneys rate their experiences with judges across the nation. Judge Bryant achieved the lowest rating in the country scoring less than 3 out of a possible 10, earning her the distinction of the worst judge in the United States.[6] Attorney comments provided include “The only positive about Judge Bryant is that she’s no longer a Superior Court judge, so we have to deal with her less often” and “Her opinions are written at the level of a twelve year old.” A criminal defense lawyer called her “Mean, arrogant and petty.”.[7] As of year end 2014, Judge Bryant maintains her rating as the Worst Judge in the United States with a rating of 3.4 out of 10.[8]