President Barack Obama yesterday formally nominated Superior Court Associate Justice O. Rogeriee Thompson to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
Today, President Obama nominated Judge Denny Chin for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Judge Chin currently serves as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. Judge Thompson currently serves as an Associate Justice on the Rhode Island Superior Court.
“Judges Chin and Thompson have displayed exceptional dedication to public service throughout their careers,” President Obama said. “They have served on the bench with distinction in New York and Rhode Island, and I am honored to nominate them today to serve the American people on the United States Court of Appeals. I am confident that they will be judicious and esteemed additions to the First and Second Circuits.”
Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson was born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina. She earned her A.B. from Brown University in 1973, and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1976. Judge Thompson began her legal career as a staff attorney at Rhode Island Legal Services as a Reginald Haber Smith Fellow. She was ultimately promoted to Senior Staff Attorney and Family Law Unit Manager, where she served as chief litigation counsel for all major domestic and juvenile trials. After three years at Legal Services, Judge Thompson entered private practice, working at a small firm and then as a solo practitioner before forming a partnership with her sister at the firm of Thompson & Thompson. There she focused on Native American law, civil rights, family law and real estate. While in private practice, Judge Thompson conducted trainings throughout the country for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. She also served as Assistant City Solicitor, where she defended the City of Providence in civil actions and prosecuted criminal cases.
In 1988, Judge Thompson became the first African-American woman to be nominated to the Rhode Island District Court where she presided over state law criminal misdemeanors, civil actions with damages up to $10,000, and tax appeals. In 1997, she was elevated to the Rhode Island Superior Court, where she currently serves. She was the first African-American woman on that court. As an Associate Justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court, Judge Thompson has original jurisdiction over all felony cases and civil actions, including those sounding in equity.
While on the bench, Judge Thompson chaired the Court’s Ad Hoc Task Force on Limited English Speaking Litigants, which was instrumental in the Superior Court establishing an Office of Court Interpreters to ensure that all limited English-speaking litigants have a fuller understanding of judicial proceedings. Judge Thompson is active in a wide variety of community and educational organizations. She is a Trustee of Brown University and of Bryant College.
Senators Reed and Whitehouse had recommended this historic nomination months ago and the President formally sent it to the Senate yesterday.
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If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Thompson will replace the retiring Hon. Bruce M. Selya. She will be only the second woman on the First Circuit bench and the first African-American.
Best wishes to Judge Thompson for a speedy confirmation. She was a talented and brilliant attorney and is a seasoned, accomplished and incredible trial judge.