Clinton appointee who began as youngest judge in US to retire from Houston federal bench

Bizar Male

Politics // Houston Politics

Photo of Gabrielle Banks

U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, who has served on the federal bench since the early days of the Clinton administration, has announced that she plans to retire in January 2022.

The longtime Houston judge’s departure will create a vacancy for another lifetime appointment within the bustling Southern District of Texas, but the judges have not determined if the empty slot will be assigned in the district’s Houston headquarters.

Gilmore, a civil litigator for 13 years at Vickery, Kilbride, Gilmore and Vickery, was the first University of Houston Law Center graduate to serve on the federal bench, according a biography on the UH site. She was also the youngest federal judge on the bench when she was appointed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

Gilmore was born in St. Albans, New York, spent part of her childhood in Okinawa, and in Montgomery County, Md., on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. She formerly served as president of the YWCA of Houston. She has served on the board of her alma mater, Hampton University, and held leadership roles on the board of directors at Texas Children’s Hospital and DePelchin Children’s Center and as a trustee of the River Oaks Baptist School. She was the first African American to serve on the board of the Texas Department of Commerce Policy.

The last district judge to retire rather than opting for senior status was U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen on March 9, 2018. Judge Kazen served in the Laredo Division, according to Nathan Ochsner, clerk for the district.

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