Arenda L. Wright Allen
|Arenda Lauretta 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 B. Friedman|
|Born||1960 (age 56–57)
|Spouse(s)||Delroy Anthony Allen|
|Education||Kutztown University of Pennsylvania B.A.
North Carolina Central University School of Law J.D.
|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 District Judge of the United States 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 of Arts degree in 1982 and later from North Carolina Central University School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1985.
Wright Allen started her legal career as a Judge Advocate General's Corps 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 United States Attorney in 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.
- "History of the Federal Judiciary". Fjc.gov. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "Federal Judge Overturns Virginia's Same-Sex Marriage Ban". The New York Times. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- Barnes, Robert (2014-02-14). "Judge on Va. gay-marriage ban: 'When core civil rights are at stake, the judiciary must act'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "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.
Jerome B. Friedman
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia