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Obama tapping Sara Lee Ellis, Andrea Wood for federal bench spots in Chicago

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WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama on Monday tapped Sara Lee Ellis and Andrea Wood for Chicago-based spots on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and Colin Stirling Bruce for a slot on the federal court anchored in Springfield.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) recommended the lawyers to the White House, after consulting with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)

The positions require Senate confirmation.

"All three of the President's nominees are excellent candidates for federal judgeships in Illinois," said Durbin. "As dedicated public servants, they have each gained a wealth of experience throughout their legal careers. I will work with my colleagues, including Senator Kirk, to see that all three judicial nominees are swiftly confirmed by the Senate."

From Durbin: "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.

'During the Clinton Presidency, Durbin worked closely with Senator Peter Fitzgerald to ensure that highly qualified candidates for federal judgeships were nominated by the President with bipartisan support in order to secure their confirmation. Before making recommendations to President Obama, Durbin consulted with the office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL)."

Click below for bios....


Office of the Press Secretary


April 30, 2013

President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Three to Serve on the United States District Court

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Colin Stirling Bruce, Sara Lee Ellis and Andrea R. Wood for District Court judgeships.

"I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench," President Obama said. "They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Court."

Colin Stirling Bruce: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Colin Stirling Bruce currently serves as the First Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of Illinois, a position he has held since 2010. In that position, Bruce oversees the day-to-day operations of the office and helps supervise all federal criminal investigations, prosecutions, and appeals taking place within the Central District. Bruce joined the United States Attorney's Office in 1989 and has spent his entire 24-year legal career serving as an Assistant United States Attorney. During that time, Bruce has prosecuted a broad range of federal criminal cases, including large drug conspiracies, complex frauds, and computer-related investigations, and has also handled civil matters on behalf of the United States. He received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1989 and his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1986.

Sara Lee Ellis: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Sara Lee Ellis is counsel at the law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP in Chicago, where she is a member of the Litigation and White Collar Crime practice groups. Prior to joining Schiff Hardin LLP, Ellis was Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago Department of Law from 2004 to 2007 and handled class claims for injunctive relief and civil rights lawsuits. From 2000 to 2004, she worked at Stetler, Duffy & Rotert, Ltd., a white-collar criminal defense law firm. Upon graduating from law school, Ellis worked as a staff attorney at the Federal Defender Program in Chicago from 1994 to 1999. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1994 and her B.A. from Indiana University in 1991.

Andrea R. Wood: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Andrea R. Wood has served as Senior Trial Counsel in the Division of Enforcement of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission since 2007. She joined the Commission as a Senior Attorney in 2004, and since that time has managed complex investigations and litigation matters involving a variety of securities law violations. From 1999 to 2004, Wood was an associate at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where she handled an active litigation practice primarily in federal court. She began her legal career by serving as a law clerk to Judge Diane Wood of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1998 to 1999. Wood received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1998 and her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1995.


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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 April 30, 2013 1:18 PM.

Obama's April 30, 2013 press conference. Transcript was the previous entry in this blog.

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