The groundbreaking new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is a Rutgers Law School in Newark graduate who thrives on the powerful position’s enormous responsibility.
By Sam Starnes
Jacqueline Romero’s window in the U.S. Attorney’s Office building in Philadelphia overlooks Independence Hall, the hallowed landmark where the United States government began to take shape. “My grandfather Diego Romero came to this country as an immigrant, alone at the age of 16,” she says, noting that he was a fisherman from Spain who arrived during the Great Depression. “Because of the promise of our Constitution, he felt like he was going to have a fair shake here and be able to make a life for himself and that he would be treated with equal justice. For me to be here today, looking out on this building and doing the job that I do, is the biggest privilege of my lifetime.”
Romero was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, and grew up there. As a child, she worked in her family’s diner, Romero’s Restaurant, where her father was the short-order cook. She began devouring newspapers in the diner when business was slow, and at the age of five, she declared her intention to be a judge someday. She would go on to graduate from Rutgers Law School in Newark in 1996 and be appointed U.S. attorney overseeing the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Her confirmation is groundbreaking in several ways: she is the first woman, the first Hispanic, and the first openly gay person to be appointed to this prominent role.