|Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals|
October 7, 1994
|Nominated by||Bill Clinton|
|Preceded by||Judith Rogers|
March 22, 1950 |
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Spouse(s)||David E. Birenbaum|
|Alma mater||Wellesley College
Georgetown University Law Center
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 District of Columbia Attorney General) 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.
Judge Ruiz is active in numerous organizations and serves as immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Judges. She is also a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Judge Ruiz is married to 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.
- Oyez: Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982), U.S. Supreme Court Case Summary & Oral Argument
- National Association of Women Judges :: Board of Directors
- Press Release: Congressman Jim Leach and Judge Vanessa Ruiz Join Carnegie Endowment Board of Trustees - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
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