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Anne E. Thompson is sworn in as a U.S. District Court Judge in 1979. (Photo: Judge Anne E. Thompson).

Trailblazer: Judge Anne Thompson

First Black to serve as a federal judge from New Jersey

By David Wildstein, January 16 2023 12:03 am

Anne E. Thompson is the first Black to serve as a federal district court judge from New Jersey.  She was nominated to the bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Thompson  became a state public defender in 1967 and Lawrence Township municipal prosecutor in 1972 before Trenton Mayor Arthur Holland appointed her to serve as a municipal court judge in 1972.

Gov. Brendan Byrne nominated her to serve as the Mercer County Prosecutor in 1975.  She was believed to be the first Black woman to serve as a county prosecutor in the nation.

She was the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey from 1984 to 2001, when she went on senior status.

Thompson taught theater before attending Howard University Law School.  She worked at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

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