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Ada Brown Confirmed to be Federal Judge for Texas

September 2019

Spelman Alumna Ada Brown Ada E. Brown, C'96, was confirmed to become the first Black woman to serve as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas making her one of two Black appellate jurists in the State of Texas.

Brown became a justice on Texas’ Fifth Court of Appeals in 2013. Before joining the appellate court, Justice Brown practiced at McKool Smith in Dallas, where she focused on commercial litigation and patent infringement matters. She also served as a judge on the Dallas County Criminal Court, a prosecutor in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, commissioner for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, and as commissioner for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

After graduating from Spelman, Brown attended Emory University School of Law and earned her law degree in 1999. She was appointed a commissioner for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education and for the Texas Department of Public Safety. She has been praised for her extensive experience and years of dedicated public service by Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

In Her Own Words: Justice Ada Brown Gives Thanks to Spelman College Professor Marilyn Davis, Ph.D., for Changing the Course of Her Career and Bringing Law to Life

Dear Professor Davis,

Spelman Professor Marilyn DavisI don't know if you will remember me, but I certainly remember you. You taught me in a Women in the Law class that changed the course of my career. I had, up until then, been a biology major and had career plans to be an orthodontist. After taking your class, I knew that law was my destiny. You brought the law to life and made it exciting and relevant. I quickly learned that lawyers could write laws, argue about them, change laws and, in the cases of judges, decide the law.

Thanks to you I received a full tuition scholarship to Emory Law School. I developed a love of criminal law in law school, joined the Dallas DA's office after law school, and became a prosecutor until I was appointed to be the trial judge of a criminal court in Dallas. I later became an appellate court judge, where I have served since 2013. Recently, the President appointed me to become a federal judge, and I was just confirmed by the Senate.

Start of QuoteWhere I am in my career today all began with learning to love the law because you taught it so well and because of the scholarship you helped me obtain. I want you to know how grateful I am for your excellent teaching skills that sparked my interest in the law and for your help obtaining a full tuition End of Quotescholarship to law school. You changed my life for the better and I still think of you today when I think of all of the people who helped me to get where I am in my career.

I googled and saw that you were still working at Spelman and I wanted to say thank you so much for all that you have done to help me. I hope that all is well with you. Once again, thank you.

Justice Ada Brown, C'96

NOTE: Earlier this year, Dr. Davis, associate professor of political science, was the inaugural recipient of the Provost's Award for Excellence in Advising for her dedication and unwavering commitment to academic advising

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