January 10, 2024

Reed and Whitehouse Welcome Biden’s Nomination of Judge DuBose to the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island

Biden officially nominates Judge Melissa DuBose to succeed U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today commended President Joe Biden for nominating Rhode Island District Court Associate Judge Melissa R. DuBose, of Providence, to the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  Following an open and in-depth selection process, which included extensive interviews and careful deliberation, the Senators recommended Judge DuBose’s nomination to the President.

Located in Providence, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island is a federal trial court, which hears both civil and criminal matters.

“We commend President Biden for nominating Judge DuBose to this seat on the U.S District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  Judge DuBose is a champion for justice who will strengthen the federal bench.  She is highly regarded throughout the Rhode Island legal community and will make an outstanding federal judge.  Her broad experience as a public school teacher, prosecutor, in-house counsel, and state court judge has well prepared her for this new assignment.  Judge DuBose has demonstrated the highest levels of integrity, professionalism, and skill.  We are confident in her ability to serve justice, and her fellow Rhode Islanders.  We look forward to her confirmation proceeding in a timely fashion,” said Reed and Whitehouse.

Judge DuBose’s nomination will now be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Senator Whitehouse serves as a senior member.  The Committee will hold a confirmation hearing, after which it will vote and report its recommendation to the full Senate.  The nomination then must be confirmed by the full Senate.

A native Rhode Islander, Judge DuBose, 55, graduated from Providence College in 1990 with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and went on to receive her teacher certification from the Providence College School of Continuing Education. 

She taught history and civics in the Providence Public School system for a decade and earned her Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University School of Law, graduating in 2004.  Upon earning her law degree, she was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for Rhode Island and assigned to the criminal division from 2005 to 2008.  She went on to serve as senior legal counsel at Schneider Electric, in Foxboro, Massachusetts, providing in-house legal support for the company’s global units and specializing in federal contracts, corporate compliance, ethics, and fair trade.

In December 2018, she was appointed to the Rhode Island District Court by Governor Gina Raimondo and confirmed by the Rhode Island State Senate in January 2019.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge DuBose would become the first person of color and first openly LGBTQ judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  She would fill a vacancy created by Judge William E. Smith, who has announced that he intends to retire from regular active service and will assume senior status on January 1, 2025. 

“We thank Judge Smith for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service.  Judge Smith has worked hard to make the federal court more accessible to the public and improve the court’s efficiency and transparency,” Reed and Whitehouse added. ?

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island currently comprises Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.; Judge William E. Smith; Judge Mary S. McElroy; and Magistrate Judges Lincoln D. Almond and Patricia A. Sullivan.


Chip Unruh (Reed), 202-224-4642

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 202-224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921