By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Judge Ann M. Donnelly was officially sworn in as the 61st judge of the Eastern District of New York during an investiture ceremony at the Roosevelt Courthouse in Downtown Brooklyn on Friday night.
Donnelly is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. She spent 25 years working for the New York County District Attorney's Office before she became a judge in the New York Court of Claims in 2009 and later served in the Kings County, New York County and Bronx County Supreme Courts.
Donnelly was nominated to be a federal judge by President Barack Obama on the recommendation of Sen. Charles Schumer. On Friday, she had the oath of office administered to her by Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon, and Judge Pamela K. Chen bestowed the ceremonial gavel to her as the newest judge in the court.
“We are indebted to Sen. Schumer for recommending Ann Donnelly and all of the other outstanding recent appointments,” Bagley Amon said. “She takes the seat vacated by Sandra Townes when Judge Towns took senior status — seat No. 10, created in 1978.”
Donnelly had many members of her family in attendance for the ceremony, including her mother Mary Donnelly, husband Michael Toth, daughters Rebecca and Margaret and future son-in-law Dan Jones. She also had a long list of dignitaries on hand, including former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, Hon. Rena Uviller, Hon. Michael Obus and Sen. Schumer, each of whom spoke on her behalf.
“I'm so pleased to be here and celebrate this moment in the journey of an exceptionally talented and well-respected jurist, Judge Ann Donnelly,” said Schumer, who described himself as a family friend of the Donnelly’s and noted that his daughter played basketball with one of Donnelly’s daughters at St. Savior.
“Ann Donnelly met all of my qualifications with flying colors,” Schumer continued. “When you speak with Judge Donnelly, what's immediately clear is her deep respect and passion for the law. Judge Donnelly is more than a brilliant resume, I know her well and at her core she is a kind, thoughtful and compassionate person.”
To Chief Judge Bagley Amon's regret, Morgenthau, Judge Obus and Judge Uviller didn't have any embarrassing stories about Donnelly and instead they only said wonderful things. Judge Uviller noted that Donnelly's ascension to the federal court leaves behind a big hole in the state court.
“It is an understatement to say that Judge Donnelly is an immeasurable loss to the Supreme Court of the State of New York,” Uviller said. “As much as we celebrate this much deserved honor, we will miss her stellar service on the state side.”
When Donnelly finally got a chance to address the packed ceremonial courtroom, she read a quote by Abraham Lincoln. She also took a moment to thank everyone who spoke that day, her friends and her family, and discussed how they all had played a vital role in her life.
“I'm grateful to all of you, old friends and new friends too, for being here for me, for being a friend and for being here,” Donnelly said. “I appreciate it so much.”