Eleanor Holmes Norton graduated from Antioch College with a degree in history. She earned a master's degree in American Studies from Yale University, and a law degree there in 1964. She has more than 50 honorary degrees.
She was law clerk for federal Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., chairman of the New York City Human Rights Commission, and chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Carter. At the 1988 Democratic convention, she was Jesse Jackson's platform representative. She served on boards of three Fortune 500 companies and on the Board of Governors of the D.C. Bar Association. She is a tenured law professor at Georgetown University (currently on leave).
Norton was elected as a nonvoting delegate to the House for D.C. in 1990. She has no overdrafts in her House bank account, and plans to run for reelection.