Vanessa Ruiz

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Vanessa Ruiz
Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 7, 1994
Nominated by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Judith Rogers
Personal details
Born (1950-03-22) March 22, 1950 (age 64)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Spouse(s) Eduardo Elejalde (divorced), David E. Birenbaum
Children Natalia, Alexia
Alma mater Wellesley College (B.A.)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)
Religion Catholic

Vanessa Ruiz (born March 22, 1950) is an Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court for the District of Columbia.

Judge Ruiz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and graduated from Wellesley College in 1972 with a BA in Philosophy and from Georgetown University Law Center in 1975. She was appointed to the Court of Appeals by President Bill Clinton on July 12, 1994 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 7, 1994. Prior to being appointed to the Court, Judge Ruiz was Corporation Counsel (now called Attorney General of the District of Columbia) for the District of Columbia and an attorney in private practice, primarily in the Washington, D.C. office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Early in her career, Judge Ruiz was one of the first women to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court, arguing Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982), a pro bono case dealing with housing discrimination, in which she prevailed.[1]

Judge Ruiz is active in numerous organizations and serves as immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Judges.[2] She is also a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[3]

Judge Ruiz was married to Eduardo Elejalde in 1972, but divorced in 1982.[4] She went on to marry David E. Birenbaum, a retired partner of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson and former US Ambassador to the UN for Management and Reform. They have three grandchildren, Zoe, Gabby, and Aidan.

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