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Nannette Jolivette Brown (L ’88, LLM ’98) Sworn In as Federal Judge

January 22, 2012

JolivetteBrown robed
The Hon. Nannette Jolivette Brown (Photo/Mike Posey)  
     Legal luminaries from across the state gathered last Thursday, January 19, in downtown New Orleans for the formal investiture of newly appointed U.S. District Court Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown, a two-time alumna of Tulane Law School.

     Judge Brown, who earned her J.D. from Tulane in 1988 before returning for a Master of Laws in Energy and Environmental Law a decade later, becomes the first African-American woman to serve as an Article III federal judge in the history of Louisiana.

     “This is a proud day for Louisiana and for Tulane,” said Dean David Meyer, who attended the investiture along with Professor and former Dean Edward Sherman and noted the abundant Tulane connections to the event.  Judge Brown’s historic nomination was supported by both of the state’s U.S. senators, including Brown’s Tulane Law classmate Senator David Vitter (L ’88).  And the ceremony was presided over by fellow alumna and  Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana Sarah S. Vance (L ’78), in the federal court building named to honor another alumnus, the legendary Congressman Hale Boggs, former Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Others who spoke at the investiture included Corrine Morrison (L ‘75), the Managing Partner of Chaffe McCall, where Judge Brown formerly practice law, and Ashley Belleau (L ’84), a partner with Montgomery Barnett and immediate past president of the New Orleans chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

     Judge Brown, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana, was serving as New Orleans’ first African American City Attorney at the time of her unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate in October 2011.  U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, who had recommended Brown’s nomination to the President, lauded Judge Brown’s accomplishments and hailed the significance of her appointment for the federal bench.  Morrison and E. Paige Sensenbrenner, the Managing Partner of Adams & Reese, with whom Judge Brown also practiced early in her career, both praised Judge Brown’s legal acumen, integrity, work ethic, and temperament.

     Surrounded by her children and husband Marcus Brown, Judge Brown took the oath of office from Chief Judge Vance on the same Bible used in the inaugurations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama.

     Judge Brown has been actively serving on the bench since her confirmation in October.  Less than a week before her investiture, Judge Brown had served as a faculty member in Tulane Law School’s pathbreaking new Intersession skills-training program.  On Friday, January 13, she heard motion arguments in her courtroom by students in the capstone of the program’s pre-trial civil litigation track.


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