Friday, May 11th was an historic day for the American Judicial system and the Caribbean as distinguished attorney Margo K. Brodie, a native of St. John’s, Antigua became the first Caribbean immigrant to sit on the Brooklyn Federal Court Bench.
Friends, family and numerous colleagues filled the Ceremonial Courtroom at the United States Courthouse at Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn to capacity, causing many to be directed to overflow rooms for the historic induction ceremony.
Sense of humour - Presiding over the ceremony was Chief Judge Carol Bagley Amon, whose wit and sense of humour kept folks laughing out loud as she welcomed everyone to the Ceremonial Courthouse.
Chief Judge Amon administered the Oath of Office and over saw the “Robing” of Judge Brodie by her mother Nina and her younger brother Euan, while Douglas Palmer, Clerk of the Court read the Presidential Commission.
Many dignitaries and elected officials were present. New York Senator Charles Schumer, who nominated Brodie to the bench beamed with pride as he brought remarks. “With Margo Brodie’s confirmation, we are making history,” he said to the audience as they applauded, “her career and achievements embody everything this court strives to uphold,” he stated.
Judge Brodie’s jurisdiction will include the Eastern District of New York- Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. Among those bringing greetings was Judge Brodie’s best friend from childhood, Alexandra Swift Spencer who is currently the Senior Magistrate Court Clerk in St. John’s Antigua.
Spencer, along with many of Judge Brodie’s family members had travelled from the Caribbean isle to be with her. Speaking about “her friend Margo”, Spencer shared that since the announcement, the entire island had been buzzing with excitement, “thrilled that one of their own had made history in the United States.”
Incidentally, among those well wishers was Antigua’s head of state, the Honorable Baldwin Spencer who sent a personal letter of congratulations to Judge Brodie. Also bringing remarks were Loretta E. Lynch, US Attorney for the Eastern District as well as Camille Chin-Kee-Fatt, director of Career Services at Brooklyn Law School both of whom worked with Judge Brodie when she was an attorney.
They said Judge Brodie was not only a good friend but a wonderful colleague whose characteristics make her perfect for the bench. Margo Brodie was described by those who know her best as a generous person with a brilliant mind who truly cared about people and was very “fair”.
In response Judge Brodie honored those who influenced her. “I’ve always wanted to be a judge,” she told those present, “and I still have not stopped pinching myself.” She recognised her mother for her selfless dedication to ensuring that she was always well cared for although she worked as a nanny taking care of two other children during many of those years.
Those two children, now adults were also present to witness Judge Brodie’s induction. Judge Brodie acknowledged the “village” that raised her. saying she was lucky enough to have such a large family of caring aunts and uncles who ensured that she was nurtured and guided along her path to becoming a judge.
Private practice Margo Brodie’s journey to the federal bench began when she arrived in the United States after completing high school in Antigua. She attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn where she earned her undergraduate degree.
She earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania then worked as assistant Corporation Counsel Attorney for the City of New York in the Real Estate Litigation Division. She then went into private practice working for the prestigious law firm of Carter, Ledyard and Millburn.
After 5 years, she returned to public service and worked at the United States Justice Department where she served as Assistant United States Attorney representing the US in a variety of public corruption, money laundering, narcotics and gun trafficking cases.
In 2007 she became Chief of the General Crimes Unit where she supervised 25 Assistant United States Attorneys and three Deputy Chiefs. She served as Counselor of the Criminal Division beforebecoming Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division where she had responsibility for more than 100 lawyers in all of the criminal cases that were brought to the Eastern District.
Judge Brodie is also very involved in a wide variety of organizations outside of the courtroom. She is the former president of the Association of Black Women Attorneys.
She is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association and the National Prosecutors Association. Margo Brodie has also served as legal advisor to countries around the world including Nigeria where advised the Nigerian Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences commission.