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The Honorable Chuck Grassley
United States Senator
Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley
Before the Committee on the Judiciary
On the Nominations of:
Bernice Bouie Donald, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit
J. Paul Oetken, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York
Paul A. Engelmayer, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York
Ramona Villagomez Manglona, to be Judge for the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands
On today's agenda we have an interesting mix of nominations. We have a nominee for the Sixth Circuit, two nominees for the Southern District of New York, and a nominee for one of the territorial District Courts - the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands. I join you in welcoming the nominees, their families and friends. I especially welcome of Mr. Oetken's family members who are here from Iowa. Mr. Oetken grew up in Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa. I think, Mr. Chairman, that his Iowa background prepared him for his future success in New York.
Over the past few days, we have confirmed five more nominees to vacancies in the federal judiciary. In the short time we have been in session, we have confirmed 12 judicial nominees, more than in the same time period for any of the previous four Presidents. Nine of those confirmations were for seats designated judicial emergencies.
This year we have reported 22 nominees out of Committee. With this hearing, our fourth, we will have heard from 17 judicial nominees this year. In total, we have taken positive action on 33 of the 58 judicial nominations submitted to the Senate during this Congress.
I would note that the seat on the Sixth Circuit to which Judge Donald has been nominated became vacant late last fall, during the lame-duck session of Congress. The other nominations before us today were submitted to the Senate a little over 40 days ago. That is far less than the average of 147 days between nomination and hearing set for President Bush's judicial nominees, and even less than the 68 days for the current President's nominees. So I think our quick action on these nominations demonstrates that we are working cooperatively with the Chairman on judicial nominations.
Mr. Chairman, I will not repeat the biographical information on our nominees. I commend them for their prior public service. I ask unanimous consent that the balance of my statement be entered into the record. I look forward to reviewing the testimony.
Judge Bernice Bouie Donald has been nominated to be a United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Donald graduated from the University of Memphis in 1974 and then from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1979. After a short period in private practice and with Memphis Area Legal Services, she served as an assistant public defender for Shelby County from 1980 to 1982. In 1982, she was elected to the Shelby County General Sessions Court as a General Sessions Judge in the criminal division. She served there until 1988 when she was appointed to be a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee. In 1996, Judge Donald was confirmed by the Senate and appointed by President Clinton as United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee.
Mr. J. Paul Oetken is nominated to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Oetken graduated from the University of Iowa in 1988 and from Yale Law School in 1991. Mr. Oetken then spent three years clerking for federal judges, beginning with Judge Cudahy of the Seventh Circuit, then with Judge Oberdorfer of the D.C. Circuit, and then finally with Justice Harry Blackmun of the Supreme Court. Following his clerkships, Mr. Oetken entered private practice. In 1997, he became an attorney-advisor with the Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel. In 1999, Mr. Oetken joined the White House Counsel's Office as Associate Counsel to President Clinton. In 2001, he moved to New York and returned to private practice. In 2004, Mr. Oetken joined the legal department of Cablevision Systems Corporation. Currently, he is the Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Cablevision.
Mr. Paul A. Engelmayer is nominated to be a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Engelmayer graduated from Harvard College in 1983 and from Harvard Law School in 1987. Following law school, Mr. Engelmayer clerked for Judge Wald of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He then served as a clerk on the Supreme Court for Justice Thurgood Marshall from 1988 to 1989. After clerking, Mr. Englemayer served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1989 to 1994. From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Englemayer served in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States as an Assistant to the Solicitor General. He returned to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in 1996, where he served as Chief of the Major Crimes Unit. Since 2000, Mr. Englemayer has served at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr as a Partner. In 2005, he became the Partner in Charge of the New York Office.
Judge Ramona Villagomez Manglona is nominated to be a Judge for the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands for a term of ten years. Judge Manglona graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1990 and from the University Of New Mexico School of Law in 1996. Following law school, she clerked for the Superior Court in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. From 1998 to 2003, she worked in the Office of the Attorney General, where she served in both the criminal and civil divisions. In 2002, the governor appointed her Deputy Attorney General and then Attorney General. In 2003, Judge Manglona was appointed to serve as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. While on that court, she has also served as a Judge Pro Tem on the Guam Superior Court as well as a Justice Pro Tem on the Guam Superior Court.