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Duke Law alum may soon be youngest federal judge confirmed in more than 15 years

Special to the Chronicle
Special to the Chronicle

A Duke Law School alumna may soon become the youngest federal judge confirmed in more than 15 years. 

Allison Jones Rushing, School of Law '07, was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by President Donald Trump in late August. Rushing is the youngest person to be considered for appointment to the federal bench since 2002, according to the News & Observer. 

Rushing was nominated to fill Judge Allyson Duncan's seat—a 15-year court veteran and Durham native—who is set to retire. 

During her time at Duke, Rushing served as executive editor of the Duke Law Journal and graduated magna cum laude. After law school, Rushing clerked for now-Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, then of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, for Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. and for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. 

In 2011, Rushing joined Washington, D.C., law firm Williams & Connolly, where she is now a partner. She has worked at the firm for seven years. Her work at Williams & Connolly has drawn many accolades and acknowledgement from the legal community. Super Lawyers named her one of its "Rising Stars" and The National Law Journal recognized Rushing's "oral advocacy in the federal courts of appeals." 

Her practice has focused on appellate matters, regulatory practice, and constitutional issues.

Rushing is a native North Carolinian, hailing from East Flat Rock. Republican North Carolina senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr have both expressed support for her nomination. 

“Allison Rushing has an incredible wealth of judicial experience and is regarded as one of the best legal minds in the country,” said Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a news release after President Trump announced his support. “I’m pleased to see a respected and qualified North Carolinian, Allison Rushing, nominated to serve on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. ... Ms. Rushing brings the right experience and skill to the Fourth Circuit, and I look forward to supporting her nomination.”

She was officially nominated by the president for this position Aug. 27, and her nomination is currently referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

James Markham, now the Thomas Willis Lambeth distinguished chair in public policy at the University of North Carolina School of Government, worked as editor-in-chief of the Duke Law Journal during Rushing's tenure as executive editor.

“I have nothing but good things to say about Allison," he wrote in an email to The Chronicle. "She is a wonderful person!”