St. Mary’s Academy grad and New Orleans native becomes the first Black woman to serve on the New Orleans-based Federal Appeals Court

The United Stated Senate voted today (Dec. 13) by a 65-31 margin to confirm U.S. Magistrate Judge Dana Douglas to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The historic confirmation makes Douglas the first Black woman to serve on the New Orleans-based federal appeals court, which has appellate jurisdiction over federal district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Pres. Joe Biden nominated the New Orleans native and St. Mary’s Academy graduate on June 15 to fill one of the Louisiana seats on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both of Louisiana’s Republican senators, Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, voted to confirm Douglas, who is is one of the few nominees President Joe Biden has picked for vacancies in states with two Republican senators.

Douglas earned her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Ohio and her law degree from Loyola University College of Law. In 2000 and 2001, she served as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle. Douglas also served on the New Orleans Civil Service Commission from 2003 to 2013. She served as magistrate judge in the the Eastern District of Louisiana since 2019 and was previously a partner at Liskow & Lewis, where she worked from 2001 to 2018.

U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, the only African-American member of Louisiana’s congressional delegation issued a statement following Douglas’ confirmation.

“Judge Douglas’ confirmation to the Fifth Circuit is undoubtedly historic, but she additionally has the experience, temperament, and integrity to also be a historic judge on the Fifth Circuit,” Carter said in his statement. “I was proud to recommend her appointment to President Biden and applaud the Senate on her successful confirmation. Congratulations to Judge Douglas on this momentous achievement. This is a wonderful day for Louisiana and our entire nation.”

Douglas has served as former president of both the New Orleans Bar Association and the Greater New Orleans chapter of Louis A. Martinet Society.

U.S. Sen. Cassidy released a statement after voting to confirm Judge Douglas to the Fifth Circuit. 

“Judge Douglas will serve with honor and integrity. She has the judicial temperament, education, and legal experience to sit on the Fifth Circuit Court. This is a wonderful day for Judge Douglas and her family,” U.S. Sen. Cassidy said in his statement.

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