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William E. Smith

Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

  • Judge William E. Smith of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island is a highly respected judge known for his strong intellect, excellent judicial temperament, and sterling character.
    • As then-Senator Lincoln Chafee said upon introducing him at his confirmation hearing for the district court: Judge Smith “is just the kind of person that we need on our federal courts. He possesses intelligence, integrity, and toughness, tempered with good humor and compassion. He puts his community and public service above personal gain. Above all, he is fair and honorable.”
  • Judge Smith has been nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which hears appeals from the federal district courts of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island.
  • Judge Smith possesses a distinguished record as a district court judge and as an attorney in the public and private sectors.
    • Judge Smith was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island by a voice vote in the U.S. Senate in November 2002.
    • From 1987 to 2002, Judge Smith practiced labor and employment law with the leading Providence, Rhode Island, firm of Edwards & Angell. His work included representing the Town of West Warwick, Rhode Island, in labor matters and serving as the City Solicitor of Warwick, Rhode Island.
    • From 2000 to 2001, Judge Smith served as Staff Director for U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee’s Providence office.
    • While in private practice, Judge Smith served as a municipal court judge for the Town of West Warwick from 1993 to 1998.
  • Judge Smith has excellent academic credentials and professional training.
    • He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987, where he was a member of the American Criminal Law Review.
    • He attended Georgetown University as a George F. Baker Scholar, graduating in 1982.
  • Judge Smith has actively served his state and local communities in several capacities.
    • Judge Smith currently serves on the board of directors for the Family Service of Rhode Island, a non-profit organization that provides social, medical, and educational services to low-income children, adults, and families.
    • He has served on the Diocesan School Board for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, which provides services for low-income students in inner-city schools.
    • He served on the board of directors for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank from 1993 to 2003, including a term as president from 1998 to 2000. His service included significant pro bono legal work on behalf of the Food Bank.
    • Judge Smith has given pro bono legal services to several non-profit organizations, including the Galilee Mission for Fisherman, which helps fishing-industry workers who have drug or alcohol problems, and the Samaritans, which aims to lower the incidence of suicide through counseling and educating the community.