Vanessa Ruiz

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Vanessa Ruiz
Senior Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Assumed office
Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
In office
October 7, 1994 – August 31, 2011[2]
Nominated byBill Clinton
Preceded byJudith Rogers
Succeeded byRoy W. McLeese III
Personal details
Born (1950-03-22) March 22, 1950 (age 69)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Spouse(s)Eduardo Elejalde (divorced), David E. Birenbaum
ChildrenNatalia, Alexia
Alma materWellesley College (B.A.)
Georgetown University Law Center (J.D.)

Vanessa Ruiz (born March 22, 1950) is a Senior 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, successfully representing a fair housing organization and its testers in Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982), a seminal case setting the new standard for organizational standing in federal court.[3]

Judge Ruiz is active in numerous organizations and serves as immediate Past President of the National Association of Women Judges.[4] She is also a member of the American Law Institute and serves on the board of trustees for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[5]

Judge Ruiz was married to Eduardo Elejalde in 1972, but divorced in 1982.[6] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ WBA to Honor Judge Vanessa Ruiz as Woman Lawyer of the Year
  2. ^ Notice of Court of Appeals Judicial Vacancy Created by the Retirement of Vanessa Ruiz
  3. ^ Oyez: Havens Realty Corp. v. Coleman, 455 U.S. 363 (1982), U.S. Supreme Court Case Summary & Oral Argument
  4. ^ National Association of Women Judges :: Board of Directors
  5. ^ Press Release: Congressman Jim Leach and Judge Vanessa Ruiz Join Carnegie Endowment Board of Trustees - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  6. ^ "Committee on Governmental Affairs nomination hearing". Open Library. United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. October 4, 1994. Retrieved 31 December 2013.