Unlike magistrate and bankruptcy judges, who are frequently considered for lifetime appointments to the federal bench, it is relatively uncommon for court clerks to be appointed to the bench. As such, the nomination of Maria Antongiorgi-Jordan is a rarity: a chance for her to replace the Chief Judge she worked closely with.
Maria del R. Antongiorgi-Jordan received her B.A. from Seton Hall University in 1989 and her J.D. from the Intramerican University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1992. After graduating, Antongiorgi-Jordan earned an M. Laws from the Georgetown University Law Center and then joined McConnell Valde in San Juan.
In 2018, Antongiorgi-Jordan became Chief Deputy Clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, becoming Chief Clerk in 2019. She currently serves in that role.
History of the Seat
Antongiorgi-Jordan has been nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. This seat opened when Judge Gustavo Gelpi was elevated to the First Circuit on October 19, 2021.
Antongiorgi-Jordan has spent the vast majority of her legal career, between 1995 and 2018, at McConnell Valde in San Juan. At the firm, she primarily engaged in employment litigation. For example, Antongiorgi-Jordan represented Bristol Myers Squibb in defending against a discrimination action brought by a former employee. See Dilcia Ocasio Berrios v. Bristol Myers Squibb, 73 F. Supp. 2d 171 (D.P.R. 1999). Her work has also included appellate litigation before the First Circuit, including defending a grant of summary judgment in favor of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in a military service discrimination case. Vega-Colon v. Wyeth Pharms., 625 F.3d 22 (1st Cir. 2010).
Since 2018, Antongiorgi-Jordan has served with the clerk’s office for the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. In this role, she worked with then Chief Judge Gelpi on the District’s plan to adjust its operations to the Covid-19 pandemic. See Federal Court Ready For Face-to-Face Cases, CE Noticias Financerias English, Mar. 12, 2021.
Nominations to the District of Puerto Rico have rarely brought the same degree of partisan fervor as those to other courts. Antongiorgi-Jordan’s nomination is unlikely to be too different. While her background as a clerk is unusual for a judicial nominee, Antongiorgi-Jordan also brings extensive litigation experience on both the trial and appellate levels to the bench, and will likely be able to hit the ground running as a federal judge.