Arenda L. Wright Allen
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia|
May 12, 2011
|Appointed by||Barack Obama|
|Preceded by||Jerome Friedman|
|Born||1960 (age 54–55)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Delroy Anthony Allen|
|Alma mater||Kutztown University
North Carolina Central University
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1985–2005|
|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. She formerly worked as an Assistant United States Attorney and a federal Public Defender in Norfolk, Virginia.
Early life and education
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.
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.
Federal judicial service
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.
The United States Senate confirmed Wright Allen on May 11, 2011 in a 96–0 vote. She received her judicial commission the following day.
Overturning Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban
On February 13, 2014, Judge Wright Allen overturned Virginia's statutory same-sex marriage ban, finding the ban unconstitutional. In her ruling, Judge Wright Allen inadvertently 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.
- Spemcer S. Hsu (December 1, 2010). "Norfolk lawyer nominated as fed judge". The Crime Scene. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved December 7, 2010.
- "Judge in gay marriage case difficult to pigeonhole". The Washington Post. February 6, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Arenda L. Wright Allen at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia