USA | May 5, 2023

Senate confirms Jamaican- American as US district judge

/ Our Today

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Orelia Merchant, US federal judge.

Jamaican-American, Orelia Merchant has been confirmed to serve as a district judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). The United States’ Senate Majority Leader, Charles Schumer announced the confirmation on Wednesday (May 3).

Merchant’s nomination for the seat was championed by the Biden administration. She was confirmed following a 51-48 vote in the Senate.

 “Orelia E Merchant, my fellow Brooklynite, brings extensive judicial and leadership experience to the table. As Chief Deputy Attorney General in New York, she is responsible for managing 8,000 active cases and 250 attorneys in prosecution and defense of actions and complex cases in state and federal court.”  Schumer told the Caribbean Media Corporation.


Schumer expressed confidence that Merchant would bring “remarkable legal talent and experience, and her fervent commitment to the public good to the federal court,” he said while noting that Merchant has dedicated herself entirely to serving her community and making sure the law applies equally to all people. She will follow the law where it takes her, in the pursuit of fair and impartial justice.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who voted for Merchant described her as “a brilliant legal mind, and her confirmation helps ensure that the bench of the Eastern District better reflects the diversity of the people it serves noting that she brings professionalism and integrity.”

In her current capacity Merchant oversees 8,000 active cases and manages 450 employees, including 250 attorneys in prosecution and defence of actions and complex cases in state and federal court.


Prior to her new role Merchant served in the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and as assistant regional counsel for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 5, in Chicago, Illinois.

She also served as a special assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Louisiana in both the Civil and Criminal Divisions.

She is a graduate of Dillard, a prestigious historically black university in Louisiana, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and mathematics.

She also holds a Master’s degree in marine science from the College of William and Mary, a public research university in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In addition, she earned her Juris Doctorate (law degree) from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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