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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 24, 1993


The President announced the nominations today of three federal judges: Rosemary Barkett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Raymond Jackson for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Joanna Seybert for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

"These three individuals have all exhibited the high levels of ability and judgment that the American people deserve to expect from federal judges," said the President.

A full biography of Rosemary Barkett is attached.

Raymond Jackson has served since 1977 as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has also been an adjunct lecturer at the College of William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law. Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney's office, he served for four years in the United States Army, Judge Advocate General's Corps. He continues to serve in the Army Reserve, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Jackson, a native of Sussex, VA, received his B.A. from Norfolk State University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He currently lives in Norfolk with his wife, Gwendolyn, and their two children. He is 44 years old.

Joanna Seybert was elected Nassau County Court Judge in 1991, after having served three years as a County District Court Judge. From 1980-87, she was Deputy Bureau Chief of the Major Litigation Bureau of the Nassau County Attorney's office. She has also worked for the Legal Aid Society of New York.

Judge Seybert holds her undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and law degree from St. John's University School of Law. She lives in Mineola, NY with her husband, John, and their child. She is 45 years old.



              Nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals
                     for the Eleventh Circuit

Rosemary Barkett has served as the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court since 1992. Barkett, 53, is a former nun and the first woman to serve on the state's supreme court, which she joined as an Associate Justice in 1985. She has earned a reputation for scholarship and fairness.

Barkett was born in 1939 in a small town in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico. Her parents, immigrants from Syria, had sixteen children, only six of whom survived. The Barkett family moved to Miami, Florida when Rosemary was five, and Barkett became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of eighteen.

Becoming a Roman Catholic nun, Barkett taught at religious and public schools in Florida and in Michigan. While still in the order, Barkett attended Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, graduating with top honors in 1967. She then left the convent to pursue a career in law and graduated at the top of her class from the University of Florida in 1970.

After graduating from law school, Barkett worked for eight years as a trial lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1979, she was appointed to the bench, and she has served as a judge in the Florida state court system since that time.

Barkett rose through the state judicial system, starting as a circuit judge, and Administrative Judge in the civil division and then chief circuit judge in the Fifteenth Circuit. In 1984, Barkett was appointed to the state's appellate court in the Fourth District. One year later, in 1985, then-Governor Bob Graham appointed Barkett to serve as the first woman justice on the Florida Supreme Court.

Governor Graham announced that he had selected Barkett over other candidates because she had a "record of humanitarian service, legal talent and professionalism and judicial demeanor."

Barkett has twice won elections for retention on the Supreme Court, in 1986 and 1992. In 1992, Barkett was named to serve two years as Chief Justice of the state's highest tribunal. In that capacity, she serves as the chief administrative officer of the state's court system and is responsible for the courts' budget process and the assignment of judges.

     Barkett is extraordinarily active on and off the bench.  She 

has served on numerous commissions and associations addressing child welfare matters, court management, the criminal justice system, family law, legal education and the role of women in the profession.

She has also received a multitude of honors and awards for her work as a judge and as an individual committed to improving justice. Notably, the Florida Trial Lawyers created a "Rosemary Barkett Award" which it presents each year to a "person who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to equal justice under the law."

Barkett lives in Tallahassee, Florida. She rises daily at 5:15 am and jogs three miles with neighbors before going into her office.

Barkett's nomination has been endorsed by a broad, bipartisan array of bar leaders and public officials in Florida. They have attested to her legal acumen and judicial temperament.

If confirmed, Barkett would replace Judge Paul Roney as one of twelve judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She would become the third female appellate judge in Atlanta, for the circuit which reviews cases from Florida, Alabama and Georgia.

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