U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance, of the Eastern District of Louisiana, is the 2022 recipient of the Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. Vance will receive the award in a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Devitt Award honors an Article III judge who has achieved a distinguished career and made significant contributions to the administration of justice, the advancement of the rule of law, and the improvement of society as a whole.
Recipients are chosen by a committee of federal judges. This year, the committee was chaired by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and included Judge Britt C. Grant, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“Judge Sarah Vance is an extraordinary federal judge who has devoted her career to improving the administration of justice and safeguarding the American rule of law,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “Judge Vance is well known for her razor-sharp intellect, astounding work ethic, sound judgment, and superb judicial temperament.”
“I am overwhelmed at the thought of joining the pantheon of judges who have received the Devitt Award,” Vance said in a statement. “My entire judicial career has been a happy collaboration with my law clerks and staff, and the many dedicated judges and staff members who worked beside me in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Devitt Award is the capstone of a judicial career that has already been highly rewarding.”
Vance was appointed to the Eastern District of Louisiana in 1994 and served as the district’s chief judge from 2008 to 2015. The daughter of a World War II veteran father and an Italian immigrant mother, she graduated first in her class at Louisiana State University and at Tulane Law School, according to the Dwight D. Opperman Foundation, which sponsors the award. Before her appointment to the bench, she worked in a New Orleans law firm, with a focus on commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and antitrust law.
Vance has served on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, as Chair of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, as a member of the Federal Judiciary Workplace Conduct Working Group, and on the board of the Federal Judicial Center. She has “played a vital role in the administration and governance of the federal Judiciary,” Kavanaugh said.
The Devitt Award is named for the late Edward J. Devitt, longtime chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The award was established in 1982.