Vanessa Lynne Bryant (born 1954) is a district judge for the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. She joined the court in 2007 after being nominated by President George W. Bush.
Vanessa Lynne Bryant was born in Queens, New York, went to Marina High School in Huntington Beach, and graduated from Howard University with her bachelor's degree in 1975 and later from University of Connecticut School of Law with a Juris Doctor degree in 1978.
Bryant was in private practice at Day, Berry and Howard (presently Day Pitney) in Hartford, Connecticut from 1978-1981. During the period from 1981 to 1989 she was a counsel to Aetna Life & Casualty Company and to Shawmut Bank from 1989 to 1990. She was the vice president and general counsel to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority from 1990 to 1992, and in 1991 joined the Connecticut board of pardons, which she stayed on until 1998. She was counsel to, and later a partner of, the New York-based law firm of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood from 1992 to 1998 and the chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut, Bridgeport division from 1996 until she was appointed a Connecticut Superior Court Judge on September 1, 1998. She was also presiding judge of the New Britain Judicial District from 2002 to 2004, and then the Hartford Judicial District from 2006 until her appointment as a federal judge in 2007.
In her capacity as a Superior Court Judge she served as Presiding Judge of the Civil Division of the New Britain Judicial District from 2002 to 2003, Administrative Judge for the Judicial District of Litchfield from 2003 to 2005 and Presiding Judge for the Civil Division of the Judicial District of Hartford from 2006 until her appointment to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. Judge Bryant was the 38th person appointed a District Judge in Connecticut and the first African American woman appointed a federal judge in New England.
During her tenure as a State Court Judge, Bryant received four judicial review complaints.
Federal Judicial Career
On January 9, 2007 Bryant was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut by President George W. Bush; a seat vacated by judge Dominic J. Squatrito.
This nomination came despite criticism from the American Bar Association and the Connecticut Bar Association, whose committees on the federal judiciary both issued majority opinions finding her "Not Qualified." Bryant was confirmed by the Senate on March 28, 2007 on a Senate vote and received her commission on April 2, 2007.