Women’s History Month is an opportunity to highlight the achievement of women who have made significant contributions to helping others.

In 2023, JNA recognizes the achievements of six (6) trailblazing women of Jamaican heritage in our community. Please join JNA in saluting these women.

We first feature The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, connected to Trelawny, Jamaica, through her grandparents.

The Honorable Anna Blackburne-Rigsby

Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

In 2017 Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was sworn in as Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby chairs the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration for the District of Columbia. Prior to being designated Chief Judge, Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was nominated by President George W. Bush in August 2006 to serve as an Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Before that, Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby, nominated by President William Jefferson Clinton, served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 2000-2006, and served as a Magistrate Judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia from 1995-2000.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby chaired the District of Columbia Courts’ Standing Committee on Fairness and Access and served on the District of Columbia’s Access to Justice Commission. Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was the Chair and Moderator of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and is the Past President of the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) for the 2013 – 2014 term.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby of Jamaican heritage, graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and received the Duke University Presidential Leadership Award. Following graduation from Duke University, she was selected to be one of twelve Public Affairs Fellows of the Coro Foundation in San Francisco, California. She earned her law degree from Howard University School of Law, graduating in the top five percent of her class. While in law school, she served as the Lead Articles Editor of the Howard Law Journal and served as the Co-Captain for the Charles Hamilton Houston Moot Court Team.

Following law school, Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby was an associate at the law firm of Hogan Lovells US LLP (formerly Hogan and Hartson) in Washington, DC, where she litigated commercial, real estate, employment discrimination, and education matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby later joined the District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel (now the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General), where she served as Special Counsel to the Corporation Counsel, working as part of the senior management team. She then served as Deputy Corporation Counsel in charge of the Family Services Division, where she managed the Division’s 65 attorneys and support staff, responsible for handling child abuse and neglect, child support enforcement, and domestic violence cases.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby has taught trial advocacy at the Harvard Law School and teaches Professional Responsibility as an Adjunct Professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia. She has also taught continuing legal education courses for the District of Columbia Bar.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby who has held offices in several judicial organizations, has sought to promote the rule of law and equal access to justice. She has received awards for her legal, judicial and community service, including the Business and Professional Women’s League “Sojourner Truth Award”, the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia “2014 Star of the Bar Award,” the National Bar Association “Heman Sweatt Champion of Justice” Award, and the Greater Washington Area Women Lawyers Division (GWAC) Charlotte E. Ray Award.

Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby is married to Judge Robert R. Rigsby, Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, former corporation counsel for the District of Columbia, and a retired colonel and military judge of the United States Army Reserves. They are the proud parents of a son.

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