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Judge Arterton was nominated by President Bill Clinton, confirmed by the United States Senate, and entered on duty May 15, 1995 as United States District Judge for the District of Connecticut.  She has sat by designation with the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Federal Circuit and the Armed Forces.

Judge Arterton served on the United States Judicial Conference Committee on International Judicial Relations from 2002 to 2008 and continues her participation in international judicial education programs.  Her international work includes judicial programs with judges from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Korea, Ghana, Latria, Kosovo, Russia, China, Jordan, Pakistan, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and Suriname.

She chairs the District Court's committee on Jury Utilization and has presided on the Support Court in New haven since 2010 for post-incarceration and pretrial offenders with drug and alcohol addiction.  She is a member of the Committee of the Proprietors of the Common and Undivided Lands of New Haven.

In 1996, she received the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund's Maria Miller Stewart Recognition Award, and in 2000 she received Community Mediation Inc.'s Robert C. Zampano Award for Excellence in Mediation.  In 2005 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by Northeastern University.

Prior to taking the bench, she was in private practice starting in 1978.  Her legal practice focused on labor and employment law in federal and state courts.  She chaired the Connecticut Bar Association's Federal Practice Section, served on the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association Board, the New Haven Inn of Court, and on numerous federal and state advisory committees.

Judge Arterton has been a continuing education lecturer, and has authored or contributed to books, articles and periodicals, including "Unconscious Bias and the Impartial Jury," 40 Conn. L. Rev. 1023 (2008); "Alternative Dispute Resolution in the District of Connecticut," in Mazadoorian, H., Mediation Practice book: Critical Tools, Techniques and Forms, Law First Publ. 2002; Phelan and Arterton, Disability Discrimination in the Workplace, Clark Boardman Callaghan 1992), "Jury Trials Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," in Spriggs, K, Representing Plaintiffs in Title VII Actions, John Wiley & Sons, 1994; and "Employment Discrimination Claims In State Court: A Laboratory For Experimentation," New York Law Review, 1984/85.  She also taught trial practice at Yale Law School.

She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Political Science) and Northeastern University School of Law, where she served as a member of the Visiting Committee.  She was a law clerk for Hon. Herbert J. Stern, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.  Her husband was founding Dean of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, where he is currently emeritus professor.  Judge Arterton's two daughters are attorneys.