U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced legislation Tuesday to rename the federal building and courthouse in Amarillo to the "J. Marvin Jones Federal Building and Mary Lou Robinson United States Courthouse."
U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, sponsored a similar bill in the House in May, and H.R. 5772 passed by voice vote Monday.
"Mary Lou Robinson’s distinguished record in the courtroom and legacy of service are an inspiration for the legal community and all of Amarillo,” Cornyn said in a prepared statement. "By naming the U.S. Courthouse in Amarillo after her, I hope to ensure her public service continues to inspire generations to come.”
Robinson has served as judge of Potter County Court, the 108th District Court of Texas, as Chief Justice of the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
The building is now known as the J. Marvin Jones Federal Building and Courthouse.
"Judge Robinson is a legal pioneer who is universally respected and admired," Thornberry said in an email. "She has always set high standards for herself and others, and our system of justice has benefited. Having the name of these two outstanding public servants on our federal building and courthouse will be a perpetual reminder of their high standards and outstanding contributions to our nation."
If enacted, this would be the first federal courthouse named after a woman within a five-state area.
In 1973, when Robinson was appointed justice of the Seventh Court of Appeals in Amarillo she became the first female appellate judge in Texas. She was appointed Chief Justice of that court in 1977 and continued to serve as Chief Justice until her appointment by President Carter to the federal bench.
Jones was born in Cooke County in 1882 and served in World War I. He was a member of Congress from 1917-1940. He then became a judge of the United States Court of Claims in 1945, serving as Chief Judge from 1947-1964. In 1976, he was appointed as senior judge.