Press Release

Senate Confirms Ronnie Abrams, First Gillibrand Recommended Judge to Sit on Federal Bench

Mar 22, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today confirmed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s first judicial nominee, Ms. Ronnie Abrams, to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York.  Senator Gillibrand recommended her for the position last April in an effort to add another exceptional female jurist to the federal bench.

VIDEO: Senator Gillibrand spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to support Ms. Abrams’s nomination. WATCH FULL VIDEO HERE

A distinguished prosecutor, Ms. Abrams rose to the positions of Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Chief of the General Crimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where she supervised hundreds of cases, including ones involving violent crime, white collar crime, public corruption, narcotics trafficking and crimes against children. She was awarded the Department of Justice’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as a Federal Prosecutor, among other awards.

“Ms. Abrams is a highly experienced and exceptional attorney, who is extremely well qualified to serve as a federal court judge,” Senator Gillibrand wrote in her recommendation letter to President Obama last April. “Because federal judges are appointed for life, it’s essential that federal judges are individuals who are fair-minded, have impeccable integrity, and excellent judicial temperament. I believe those qualities define Ronnie Abrams. Throughout her career, Ms. Abrams has served with the highest integrity and distinction, and she possesses a deep rooted commitment to justice and public service.”

The number of women serving on the federal bench has stagnated over the past several years, remaining at 500 positions filled by women from 2007 to 2011. Less than a third of federal bench positions are filled by women, according to the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession.

Ms. Abrams currently serves as Special Counsel for Pro Bono at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, and also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, teaching a seminar on the investigation and prosecution of federal cases. Ms. Abrams received her B.A. from Cornell University and her J.D. from Yale Law School.