Tanya Walton Pratt

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Tanya Marie Walton Pratt
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
Assumed office
June 15, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byDavid Hamilton
Personal details
Born (1959-12-14) December 14, 1959 (age 59)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
EducationSpelman College (B.A.)
Howard University School of Law (J.D.)

Tanya Marie Walton Pratt (born December 14, 1959) is an American jurist who serves as United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Pratt graduated from Cathedral High School, then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Howard University School of Law in 1984.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

From 1984 until 1992, Pratt worked as an associate attorney for the Moss & Walton law firm in Indianapolis. From 1992 until 1996, Pratt was with the same firm with the title of attorney. In 1997, Pratt became a judge in Marion County, Indiana, working in the Criminal Division and presiding over major felony matters from 1997 until 2008. She was assigned to Marion County's probate court in 2009, and served there from 2009 until 2010.[1][2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

In March 2009, Pratt expressed her interest in a federal judgeship to the staff of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. After interviewing with representatives from the United States Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel, Pratt was nominated by President Barack Obama to the judgeship on January 20, 2010. The Senate confirmed Pratt in a 95–0 vote on June 15, 2010. She received her commission the same day. Pratt filled the vacancy that was created by Judge David F. Hamilton, whom Obama elevated to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.[3] Pratt is the first African American federal judge in Indiana's history.[4][2]

Notable rulings[edit]

In 2016, she ruled against Indiana governor Mike Pence's order to cut federally allocated funds for the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana.[5]

In 2018, she ruled against a pregnant woman who was mauled by a police dog because she was not the intended target.[6]

Notable cases[edit]


  1. ^ a b "President Obama Nominates Five to Serve on the United States District Court Bench" (Press release). whitehouse.gov. January 20, 2010..
  2. ^ a b c "Pratt, Tanya Walton – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  3. ^ "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate" (Press release). whitehouse.gov. January 20, 2010.
  4. ^ Associated Press. "Pratt confirmed as 1st black Indiana federal judge" Archived 2012-03-06 at the Wayback Machine. June 15, 2010.
  5. ^ "Exodus, continued: Indiana's governor is losing his fight to keep Syrian refugees away: Most other governors seem to have quietly dropped the matter". The Economist. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  6. ^ "District court judge says 2015 police K-9 attack did not violate pregnant woman's rights". The Indianapolis Star. October 2, 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2018.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
David Hamilton
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana