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Durbin's recommendations for Chicago federal judges

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Below, release from Durbin...

August 7, 2009

DURBIN FORWARDS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FEDERAL JUDGES AND U.S. MARSHAL TO WHITE HOUSE

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today forwarded a list of names to the White House to consider when filling positions for the U.S. District Court and U.S. Marshal in the Northern District of Illinois. There are currently three vacancies to be filled on the U.S. District Court and one position of U.S. Marshal for the Northern District; Durbin has already recommended that current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District, Patrick Fitzgerald retain his post.

Based on recommendations made by a bipartisan screening committee in the state, Durbin has forwarded the names of the following seven individuals to the President for consideration as District Judges and a single name for the U.S. Marshal post:

For U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Illinois: Edmond Chang, Sharon Coleman, Susan Cox, Thomas Durkin, Gary Feinerman, Mary Rowland and Maria Valdez.

For U.S. Marshal in the Northern District of Illinois: Kenton Terrell.

"Making recommendations to the White House on federal judges and marshal nominees is one of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator, and I am pleased that we had so many highly qualified applicants for these posts," said Durbin. "The screening committee worked diligently to evaluate each application and I met personally with those applicants the committee thought were particularly noteworthy. I am proud to forward these eight names to President Obama - all of whom are well-qualified individuals who have proven track records in their fields. Each of them will make an outstanding appointment if they are selected."

Traditionally the President consults with the state's senior senator when making judicial and U.S. Attorney/U.S. Marshal appointments. In April, Durbin established three bipartisan screening committees to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Marshals for Illinois. The screening committees were comprised of 22 distinguished Illinoisans drawn from various aspects of the legal profession and include former judges, prominent litigators, law professors, bar association leaders, former prosecutors and defenders. Former federal judge and Illinois Congressman Abner Mikva chaired the Northern District Screening Panel.

Members of the screening committees met throughout the spring and early summer, reviewing applications and references, and conducting interviews. In total, they reviewed nearly 150 applications for three Federal District Court Judge positions in the Northern District; the U.S. Attorney positions in the Central District and Southern District; and the U.S. Marshal positions in all three Districts. The screening committees recommended the names of several individuals for each vacancy.

Durbin reviewed the screening committees' recommendations, conducted interviews of finalists, and, in consultation with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, today submitted his recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on nominees.

Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, it will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Durbin is a member and the nominee will ultimately receive a vote in the committee. In the case of the District Court nominees, each will have a formal confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee. If approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will then receive a vote by the full Senate.

Biographical descriptions of those recommended by Senator Durbin today follow (all names are listed in alphabetical order by position):

Names for District Judge

Edmond Chang. Mr. Chang has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999, and he is currently the chief of appeals. He previously worked as an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District of Illinois and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He received a Star of Distinction award from the Chicago Crime Commission. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University law school, where he graduated with honors and served on the law review. Mr. Chang lives in Northbrook.

Sharon Coleman. Judge Coleman serves on the Illinois Appellate Court, following her election in 2008. She served as a judge on the Circuit Court of Cook County from 1996-2008. Before that, she was a supervisor in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. She has served on the boards of numerous bar associations and public interest organizations, and she has received a Woman of Excellence award from the Chicago Defender. She has also been a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow. She is a graduate of Washington University law school in St. Louis, and she lives in Chicago.

Susan Cox. Judge Cox has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2007. She previously worked as a litigator at several Chicago law firms, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Wayne Andersen in that district. Judge Cox has served on the boards of many bar associations and public interest organizations, and she has received numerous awards, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement. She has taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University law school, and she is a graduate of Boston University law school, where she served on the law review. Judge Cox lives in LaGrange.

Thomas Durkin. Mr. Durkin has been a partner at the law firm of Mayer Brown in Chicago since 1993 and was the chair of the firm's pro bono committee for nearly a decade. He previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for over twelve years, rising to the position of First Assistant U.S. Attorney. He served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Stanley Roszkowski in the Northern District of Illinois. He has received the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement, and the John Marshall Award from the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a graduate of DePaul University law school, where he has taught as an adjunct professor. Mr. Durkin lives in Downers Grove.

Gary Feinerman. Mr. Feinerman has been a partner at Sidley Austin in Chicago since 2007. From 2003-2007, he served as Illinois's Solicitor General, and before that he was a partner at Mayer Brown in Chicago. He has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Illinois Supreme Court. He served as a judicial law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. He has served on numerous boards and is the president of the Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois. He has also served as a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, and he received a "Forty Under Forty" designation from Crain's Chicago Business. He graduated from Stanford Law School, finishing with the second highest grade point average in the class. He lives in Winnetka.

Mary Rowland. Ms. Rowland is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, where she has worked since 2000. From 1990-2000, she worked at the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, including five years as the chief appellate attorney. She has served on numerous boards. She was a judicial law clerk to Judge Julian Cook in the Eastern District of Michigan, and she is a graduate of the University of Chicago law school. Ms. Rowland lives in Oak Park.

Maria Valdez. Judge Valdez has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2005. From 1992-2005, she was the Chicago regional counsel and staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Prior to that, she worked as a Deputy Federal Public Defender in California. She has served on many boards and received numerous awards, including the Lawyer of the Year award from the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and a "Forty Under Forty" designation from Crain's Chicago Business. She is a graduate of the University of California-Hastings law school, and she lives in Western Springs.

U.S. Marshal

Kenton Terrell. Mr. Terrell has served in Chicago since 2005 as the regional director of the Federal Protective Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He has worked closely with the U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Secret Service, and other law enforcement agencies to provide security for federal buildings and federal officials. From 1990-2005, he served as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, including supervisory positions as the resident agent in charge in the Las Vegas, Nevada and Fort Wayne, Indiana offices, and as the assistant special agent in charge in Chicago. He has received numerous awards from the Federal Protective Service and ATF. He has received a BS and MS in corrections and criminal justice from Chicago State University, and he lives in Chicago.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 7, 2009 1:50 PM.

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