COVINGTON, Ga. - The Honorable Judge Eleanor Ross, first African American woman appointed to the U.S. District Court for Northern Georgia, will deliver the keynote address at the Newton County’s 33rd Annual Commemorative Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr scheduled for Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. at Newton High School.
Ross was born in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C, and grew up in Prince George's County, Maryland. She graduated from American University before attending law school at the University of Houston.
Ross began her legal career as a prosecutor in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1997, she relocated to Georgia, where she worked for the DeKalb County Solicitor's Office and the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. She also served as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta.
Ross has prosecuted several high profile cases, including the child abuse murder of 6-year-old Terrell Peterson, whose death prompted several changes in the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services. Additionally, during her tenure at the District Attorney's Office, she secured convictions against eight members of the International Robbing Crew, a violent gang charged with committing 10 murders in the Atlanta area.
As a prosecutor, Ross was honored for her contributions to victims' rights, and recognized by the Fulton County District Attorney in 2000 as Homicide Attorney of the Year and, in 2010, as Attorney of the Year. She was also listed as one of the 2011 Georgia's Most Powerful and Influential Attorneys by Women Looking Ahead News Magazine.
In April of 2011, Ross was appointed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to serve on the State Court of DeKalb County. She was sworn in at the State Capitol on April 29 and took the bench on May 2. Ross served on that Court for 3.5 years. Each year she sponsored an "Art Challenge Contest’ open to all DeKalb County Public Schools middle and high school students.
On Thursday, Dec. 19th, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Ross to serve on the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia, a Court on which no African American woman had ever served. She appeared before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing on May 13, 2014 and on Nov. 18, the United States Senate confirmed her by voice vote. She received her judicial commission on Nov. 20, 2014.
Since 2001, Ross has been married to Judge Brian Ross, who currently serves in the Traffic Division of the State Court of DeKalb County. They have two middle school-aged daughters.