U.S. Senate Confirms Melissa R. DuBose as U.S. Federal District Court Judge for Rhode Island

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 51-47 to confirm Melissa R. DuBose, an Associate Judge from the Rhode Island District Court, to the esteemed U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. The 55-year-old Providence resident’s confirmation fills a forthcoming vacancy anticipated in the new year, created by the transition of Judge William E. Smith to senior status effective January 1, 2025.

Situated in Providence, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island serves as a vital federal trial court, presiding over both civil and criminal cases.

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, representing Rhode Island, endorsed Judge DuBose’s nomination and welcomed President Joe Biden’s official selection of DuBose on January 10. They introduced her to the full Senate Judiciary Committee, where Senator Whitehouse serves as a senior member, during her hearing in February. Earlier this month, she garnered bipartisan approval with a 12-9 vote in the Judiciary Committee.

In a joint statement, Senators Reed and Whitehouse expressed their optimism, stating, “This bipartisan vote is great news for Rhode Island. Judge DuBose will make an outstanding addition to the federal bench. She has proven to be an exceptional jurist with a track record of ensuring trials are fair and efficient. We are confident she will continue to serve Rhode Islanders with honor, integrity, and distinction in this new role.”

A graduate of the Roger Williams University School of Law in 2004, DuBose is deeply rooted in Rhode Island, having earned her undergraduate degree from Providence College in 1990. Her journey into law was not conventional, as she pursued her legal education while teaching history and civics in the Providence Public School system.

After obtaining her law degree, DuBose served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island from 2005 to 2008 before transitioning to a role as senior legal counsel at Schneider Electric in Foxboro, Massachusetts. In December 2018, Governor Gina Raimondo appointed her to the Rhode Island District Court, a position confirmed by the Rhode Island State Senate the following month. DuBose also serves on the board of the Rhode Island Foundation.

DuBose’s nomination drew widespread support from Rhode Island’s legal and law enforcement communities, earning unanimous praise from the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island and backing from local police leaders, prosecutors, and members of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, one of 94 nationwide, currently comprises Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.; Judge William E. Smith; Judge Mary S. McElroy; and Magistrate Judges Lincoln D. Almond and Patricia A. Sullivan.

DuBose will remain in her current role at the Rhode Island District Court until Judge Smith transitions to senior status in January 2025. Upon assuming senior status, Judge Smith will maintain a reduced caseload while DuBose assumes her federal judicial commission and takes the oath of office to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.




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