February 8, 2024

Whitehouse Introduces RI Federal District Court Nominee Melissa DuBose Before Senate Judiciary Committee

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today introduced U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island nominee Melissa R. DuBose before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The White House announced DuBose’s nomination last month after Whitehouse and U.S. Senator Jack Reed jointly recommended her for the seat to the President.  DuBose currently serves as an Associate Judge of the Rhode Island District Court.

“You often hear me talk about how important honest courtrooms are to our system of government.  An honest courtroom protects people’s rights, maintains order, and holds wrongdoers to account, all without fear or favor,” said Whitehouse, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General.  “There’s no better way to ensure Rhode Islanders can walk into an honest courtroom than to confirm a judge like Melissa DuBose—whose professional experience, intellect, integrity, and grit will make her an exemplary federal judge.”

Watch Whitehouse’s introductory remarks.

“It is with great humility that I offer thanks to President Biden for this extraordinary nomination.  I am truly honored,” DuBose said in her opening comments, which can be viewed here.

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

She taught history and civics in the Providence Public Schools 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 the following month.

DuBose’s nomination has earned widespread support from Rhode Island’s judicial and law enforcement communities.  A letter to the Judiciary Committee signed by all members of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island states, “Melissa’s integrity is beyond reproach; her professional competence is varied and deep; and her judicial temperament is exemplary.  Everyone on our Court is pleased at the possibility of welcoming Judge DuBose to the federal court if she is fortunate enough to be confirmed by the Senate.”  Local police leaders, prosecutors, and current members of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the broader judiciary also strongly advocated for her confirmation in letters submitted to the Committee. 

Once DuBose’s nomination has been considered and reported out by the Committee, it must be confirmed by the full Senate with a simple majority vote.

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.

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. 

Watch the full hearing here.


Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921