Photo by Michael Smart/Sun-Times
Here are the seven names U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) forwarded to President Obama to fill vacancies in the Northern District of Illinois. There are three federal judge vacancies, according to Durbin's office.
Since Durbin is the senior senator from Illinois he has the lead role in sending the president recommendations for federal judicial posts. Durbin made the list after the candidates went through a screening committee.
"One of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator is recommending candidates to fill federal judicial vacancies in Illinois," Durbin said in a statement. "The screening committee I set up last year worked diligently to evaluate each application and recommend applicants they thought were particularly noteworthy. After meeting personally with the recommended applicants, I am honored to forward the names of seven well-qualified individuals with proven track records to President Obama. Each of them would make an outstanding nominee for federal district court judge if selected."
Durbin, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, is the senior senator from Illinois. The senior senator from the President's political party has traditionally had the lead role in making recommendations to the President for the positions of Federal District Court Judge, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal in the senator's home state. There are currently three judicial vacancies on the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Here are the names and bios:
Jorge Alonso - Judge Alonso has served as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2003. He currently serves in the Criminal Division and also presides over a specialty court program for women with mental illness in the criminal justice system. He previously worked for over eleven years as an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. He is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School. Judge Alonso lives in Park Ridge.
Michael Brody - Mr. Brody is a partner in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block, where he has worked since 1984. He currently serves as the Secretary of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he served on the law review and where he has taught a seminar on class action litigation for the past decade. He served as a judicial law clerk to then-Judge Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Mr. Brody lives in Evanston.
Sara Ellis - Ms. Ellis has worked as a counsel at Schiff Hardin in Chicago since 2008. Previously she served for six years as a staff attorney for the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, for three years as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the City of Chicago Department of Law, and in private practice at Stetler & Duffy in Chicago. She graduated from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she has taught as an adjunct professor. Ms. Ellis lives in Chicago.
Caryn Jacobs - Ms. Jacobs is currently a partner in the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn, where she has worked since 2010. Previously she served for over five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and worked for about seventeen years at Mayer Brown in Chicago, having become a partner there in 1994. She served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Susan Getzendanner of the Northern District of Illinois. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Ms. Jacobs lives in Evanston.
Patricia Martin - Judge Martin has served as a judge in Circuit Court of Cook County since 1996. Since 2000, she has been the Presiding Judge in the Child Protection Division, and she previously served as a judge in the Law Division and in the Child Protection Division. She worked in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender from 1986-1996, ultimately serving as Deputy Chief of the Fifth Municipal District. She is a graduate of the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Judge Martin lives in Chicago.
Mary Smith - Ms. Smith is currently the General Counsel of the Illinois Department of Insurance, where she has served since 2012. She worked as a Counselor in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 2010-2012, where she had also previously served as a trial attorney. She served on the White House Domestic Policy Council from 1997-1999 and as an Associate Counsel in the White House Counsel's Office in 2000. She has also worked as a senior litigation counsel at Tyco International and in private practice. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago School of Law, and served as a judicial law clerk for Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Ms. Smith lives in Lansing.
Andrea Wood - Ms. Wood has served as a Senior Trial Counsel at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Chicago since 2007. Previously she worked as an attorney in the SEC Division of Enforcement and in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis. She served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Diane Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School, where she served on the law review. Ms. Wood lives in Chicago.