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If Confirmed, Vacca, Who Is Korean-American, Will Be The First Woman Of Color To Serve On The Western District Of NY Bench And She Will Be The Second Woman Schumer Has Nominated To The WDNY Bench, Which Would Make The Formerly All-Male Court Half Active Female Judges 

A Graduate Of The University at Buffalo School of Law A Former Prosecutor & Current Acting State Supreme Court Judge With Experience In Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, & Felony Cases, Senator Says Vacca Will Bring Years Of Legal Expertise To Federal Bench & Serve With Integrity & Professionalism

Schumer: A True Blue Western New Yorker, Rochester’s Vacca Will Bring Tremendous Legal Knowledge, Integrity & Expertise To Western District Federal Bench 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that he has recommended an exceptional Monroe County judge, Meredith Anne Vacca, to President Biden for nomination to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. If confirmed, she would be the first Asian-American and the first woman of color to serve as judge on the WDNY bench. Schumer said that Vacca, who will be officially nominated by President Biden later today, would bring tremendous expertise, legal acumen, a love for the community, and deep institutional knowledge of the Court to the bench.

“Meredith Vacca, a lifelong public servant and long-time Rochester resident raised in the Town of Greece and educated at UB, has spent over 15 years of her career fighting for vulnerable New Yorkers. As a current Acting State Supreme Court Judge, she is building on her stellar legal record as Monroe County Court Judge and longtime Assistant District Attorney and gaining expertise on the most important issues New York faces, while developing a rare institutional knowledge of our state’s and country’s laws, which make her a perfect candidate for the federal bench. As a Korean-American who was adopted at 6 months old, she has a unique perspective and deep commitment to equal justice for all,” said Senator Schumer. “Ms. Vacca is not only an accomplished lawyer with years of knowledge taking on child abuse, domestic violence, and felony cases, but a fair and impartial judge, with profound integrity, immense intellectual curiosity, and the ability to preside over a courtroom with dignity. Vacca has a passion for the law and there is nobody I could think more qualified to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York. Raised in the Rochester area and educated at University of Buffalo, Ms. Vacca is highly qualified and represents the rich professional and demographic diversity of New York, Monroe County and the country, and when confirmed she will make history as the first Asian-American woman to serve as judge in the Western District of New York. I am proud to recommend Rochester’s Meredith Vacca to serve on this federal bench.”

Throughout his time serving as Senate Majority Leader, Schumer has made it a priority to confirm countless female judges and people of color to the bench. Under Majority Leader Schumer’s leadership, this Senate has confirmed more women and more people of color to the bench, than any full first term of any previous president in history.

When Schumer first started recommending judges as a senator, there were no women on the WDNY bench.  Schumer changed that when he recommended Rochester attorney Elizabeth Wolford as the first woman to serve on the WDNY bench.  Judge Wolford was confirmed in 2014 and currently serves as the Chief Judge for the WDNY. In 2021 Schumer made another historic pick in recommending Trini Ross as the WDNY U.S. Attorney, the first Black woman ever to lead the Western District of New York U.S. Attorney’s office. If confirmed, Ms. Vacca will now sit on one of the few 50 percent female benches in the country, as Schumer has focused on elevating women to these critical positions.

Most recently, Schumer singlehandedly helped turn the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York from having almost no female representation, to a majority woman bench among active judges when Capital Region native Anne Nardacci was sworn in this past March. Judge Nardacci is the third woman Schumer had recommended for nomination to serve on the NDNY bench, following Judge Mae D'Agostino and Chief Judge Brenda Sannes. Currently, there are 4 active women judges in the Upstate U.S. District Courts, and Ms. Vacca’s confirmation would make her the 5th out of the 9 active federal district court judges in Upstate NY. In New York as a whole, including the federal benches in WDNY and NDNY, as well as EDNY and SDNY, 26 out of 47 active federal district court judges are women, thanks in large part to Schumer’s efforts.

The bio for Meredith Vacca appears below:

Judge Meredith Vacca, 43, a lifelong public servant who has served the Greater Rochester region for 17 years first as an Assistant Monroe County District Attorney beginning in 2007 and then as a Monroe County Judge and now an Acting New York State Supreme Court Judge, has forged an accomplished legal career. After a brief stint in Private Practice, Judge Vacca joined the Monroe County District Attorney’s office where she handled thousands of criminal cases through her thirteen years with the office.  She served in the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Bureau where she prosecuted felony level offenses involving domestic violence and child physical and sexual abuse cases, as well as domestic homicides and child fatalities.   She worked on some of the most difficult cases and with countless victims of child abuse and domestic violence to bring them and their families justice to help them heal from the violence and trauma inflicted on them.   

In 2020, Judge Vacca was elected to Monroe County Court where she presided over criminal felony level offenses, including dozens of felony jury and bench trials to verdict.  Her caseload has included cases of homicide, burglaries, felony drug, gun, assault, and sexual offenses in addition to civil matters including landlord/tenant matters, consumer credit cases, and other civil matters.  Since January 2023 Judge Vacca has served on the New York State Supreme Court as Acting Supreme Court Justice.  Through her years on the bench, Judge Vacca has earned a stellar reputation as a knowledgeable, hardworking, and prepared judge of high moral integrity  who manages her courtroom grounded in respect, fairness, discipline and compassion. 

As the lone Asian American judge serving on the bench in the 7th Judicial District Judge Vacca will bring a diverse and unique perspective to the Federal Bench.  She currently serves on the Board of the Asian American Judges Association of New York.  As a Korean-American who was adopted at 6 months old by her Rochester parents and raised in the Town of Greece she has a deep appreciation of all the opportunities afforded to her by her adopted hometown and an inherent understanding and empathy for the challenges faced by diverse communities. 

She is a graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Law and currently lives with her husband and young daughter in the City of Rochester.   As a mother and through her years at the DA's Office working with children and families during their most vulnerable and needy times, Judge Vacca is passionate about helping children succeed.  She created an internship program with a City of Rochester school to provide at-risk students with internships in her courtroom, and is a frequent volunteer speaker to students about the criminal justice system.