August 31, 2017 will be a bittersweet day in the Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse, as United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson will retire. Judge Jackson formally announced her retirement by letter to the Chief Justice of the United States and to the President late last year.
Judge Jackson began her tenure with the Court as a United States Magistrate Judge on January 2, 1986, becoming the first African-American Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri’s history. She was then nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a United States District Judge, and on August 17, 1992 she became the first African-American female District Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri’s history. She then became the first African-American Chief Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, serving from 2002-2009.
Judge Jackson was also a trailblazer for the Court’s treatment court programs. In 2008 she helped found the Court’s intensive drug treatment program for offenders under supervision, and she presided over the program until 2014. She has also served on the Judicial Conference of the United States’ Committee on the Administration of the Magistrate Judges System, and on the Federal Judicial Center’s District Judge Education Advisory Committee. She has served as a board number for a number of civic organizations as well, such as the St. Louis Children’s Choirs, the St. Louis Art Museum, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Judge Jackson is a graduate of Wellesley College (B.A., History) and the University of Michigan Law School. Before her time on the bench Judge Jackson practiced with the law firm of Thompson Mitchell (now Thompson Coburn) and with Mallinckrodt, Inc.
Chief Judge Rodney W. Sippel expressed the sentiments of the Court upon Judge Jackson’s retirement, saying, “Judge Jackson has been a model of civility, professionalism, and service to all of us on this Court, and her tenure as Chief Judge set a tone of collegiality within the Court that we still strive to meet today. More importantly, we will miss having our friend here in the courthouse with us every day.”
Judge Jackson reflected on her career on the bench, saying, “The racial, gender, and ideological diversity of the federal judiciary has increased over the years and has proved to be a source of strength. It has enhanced public confidence in the judicial system, and having the benefit of a wider array of ideas and experiences has enabled the courts to improve the services provided to the public and the bar. I am proud of the great strides we have made in the Eastern District of Missouri and am grateful for the privilege of being a member of this court