|Tamara Ashford is a new entry this year|
As a sitting judge of the US Tax Court, Tamara Ashford is one of the few people who can say that they were hired by the President. Not a bad accolade.
Ashford decides cases between taxpayers and the IRS and is just over 12 months into her 15-year term, having been appointed by Obama on December 19 2014, making 2015 her first full year in the role.
Ashford – one of 19 judges on the US Tax Court – holds a unique position in that she is the only female African-American judge; there are five women judges active on the US Tax Court.
Before becoming a judge, Ashford held roles at the US Department of Justice, Tax Division, as well as at the IRS and in practice with Dewey & LeBoeuf and Miller & Chevalier.
On appointment to the Tax Court, Ashford testified before the US Senate Finance Committee that her past experiences had enabled her to amass "the temperament and skills to be an independent arbiter".
Aside from her day-to-day activity in the robe, Ashford has been vocal during 2015 in discussing the role of the judiciary in protecting taxpayer rights and promoting voluntary compliance.