A federal prosecutor, Jamar Walker would be the first openly LGBTQ judge on the Virginia federal bench if confirmed, and would also, at 36, be one of the youngest.
A native of the Eastern shore of Virginia, Jamar Kentrell Walker received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2008 and then got a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 2011.
After graduation, Walker clerked for Judge Raymond Alvin Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and then joined the firm of Covington & Burling as an associate. In 2015, Walker joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and has served there ever since.
History of the Seat
Walker has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This seat opened on November 23, 2021, when his old-boss Judge Raymond Alvin jackson moved to senior status. Walker was recommended, along with state judge Kevin Duffan, by Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to the White House on March 1, 2022. Walker was nominated on July 13, 2022.
Walker started his legal career as an associate at Covington & Burling. At the firm, Walker was part of the legal team representing defense contractor Northrop Grumman in a suit arising from groundwater contamination from one of the contractor’s facilities. See Travelers Indem. Co. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 999 F. Supp. 2d 552 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).
Since 2015, Walker has worked as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. In his time with the office, he was able to convince the Fourth Circuit to overturn a judge granted motion of acquittal in a wire fraud and money laundering case. See United States v. Millender, 970 F.3d 523 (4th Cir. 2020).
Walker’s focus in the office was largely on white collar and corruption prosecutions. For example, Walker prosecuted Robert Lee Foster, a former senate staffer, for defrauding three women in their 60s and 70s. See Former Senate Staffer Sentenced to 38 Months for Defrauding Three Women, States News Service, Oct. 30, 2015. Walker also prosecuted Thomas Scott Brown for perpetuating a bank fraud scheme resulting in $2.7 million in losses. See Atlanta Man Sentenced to Three Years for $2.7 Million Bank Fraud, Justice Department Documents and Publications, Sept. 15, 2017.
Notably, Walker secured a $137 million penalty against Walmart for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. See Walmart Inc. and Brazil-Based Subsidiary Agree to Pay $137 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Case, Legal Monitor Worldwide, June 29, 2019. He also secured a jury verdict against Anthony Eric Mitchell for his role in a fraudulent scheme that caused losses of $1.6 million. Va. U.S. Attorney: Jury Convicts Businessman of $1.4 Million Fraud Conspiracy, Targeted News Service, Oct. 18, 2019.
Walker’s nomination to the federal bench is both historic (for his status as the first openly LGBTQ nominee to the federal bench in Virginia) and conventional (for his background as a federal prosecutor). Nonetheless, if opposition galvanizes to Walker’s nomination, it will likely be based on his youth. However, setting that aside, there is little in Walker’s background that is likely to imperil his confirmation.