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Rebecca Smith

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Rebecca Smith
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Title:   Chief Judge
Position:   Seat #1
Station:   Norfolk, VA
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   10/25/1989 - Present
Chief:   2011 - Present
Preceded by:   David Warriner
Past post:   Eastern District of Virginia, Magistrate Judge
Past term:   1985 - 1989
Personal History
Born:   1949
Hometown:   Hopewell, VA
Undergraduate:   College of William and Mary, B.A., 1971
Law School:   College of William and Mary Law, J.D., 1979
Grad. School:   U. of Virginia, M.A., 1973

Rebecca Smith is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. She was nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Smith became chief judge of the court in 2011.

Early life and education

A native of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Smith graduated from the College of William and Mary with her bachelor's degree in 1971, and from the University of Virginia with her Master's degree in 1973. She later graduated from the College of William and Mary School of Law with her Juris Doctor degree in 1979.[1]

Professional career

From 1973 to 1977, Smith worked in the medical field before switching gears to join the legal profession. Smith worked as a law clerk at a private practice firm in Virginia in 1978, and then served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Calvitt Clarke, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1979 to 1980. She then worked as an attorney at a private practice law firm from 1980 to 1985 before being called to the bench.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Virginia

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator John Warner, Smith was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on August 4, 1989, to a seat vacated by David Warriner as Warriner died while in judicial service. Smith was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 24, 1989, on a Senate vote and received commission on October 25, 1989. Smith became chief judge of the court in 2011.[1][2]

Magistrate, Eastern District of Virginia

In 1985, Smith was appointed to serve an eight-year term as a federal magistrate judge. She maintained that position for four years before she was later elevated to serve as a federal district judge.[1]

Notable cases

Racial bias case against Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office dismissed (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Lee v. Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office, et al, 2:13-cv-00109-RBS-TEM)

On April 14, 2014, Judge Smith dismissed a discrimination case filed by former Captain Cassandra Lee against the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office, as well as Sheriff Ken Stolle among others. In the underlying case, Lee, the first black female captain, alleged that she was treated unfairly by her supervisors, and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to filing suit, pro se, in the Eastern District of Virginia. Lee she requested $10 million in damages from the defendants.[3] In her ruling, Judge Smith noted that Lee failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination, and "offer[ed] no proof, other than her personal beliefs, which the court may consider to prove that she was the victim of discrimination." Smith also found that Lee failed to prove she had either experienced a hostile work environment or been retaliated against by her superiors.[3] Lee claimed she would appeal Smith's decision.[3]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
David Warriner
Eastern District of Virginia
Seat #1
Succeeded by: