Durbin Delivers Opening Statement During Latest Nominations Hearing Featuring Two Illinois Judicial Nominees
If confirmed, Lee would become the first Asian American judge to serve on the Seventh Circuit, and Maldonado would become the first Hispanic woman to serve as an Article III federal judge in the state of Illinois
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nominations of John Z. Lee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit, Salvador Mendoza Jr. to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, Stephen Henley Locher to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa, Nancy L. Maldonado to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, and Gregory Brian Williams to be United States District Judge for the District of Delaware. During his opening statement, Durbin focused on the historic nature and professional experience of the two Illinois judicial nominees: Judge Lee to the Seventh Circuit and Ms. Maldonado to the Northern District of Illinois.
“I have the honor this morning of introducing Judge John Lee, nominated to the Seventh Circuit. Since 2012, he has been a U.S. District Court Judge on the Northern District [of Illinois].”
“Judge Lee came to this country as an immigrant at the age of four, settling into a one-bedroom apartment with his family in the Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago… Judge Lee excelled in school. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and cum laude from Harvard Law School.”
“In 2012, President Obama nominated Judge Lee to the Northern District of Illinois. When he was confirmed—by voice vote, I underline—Judge Lee became the first Korean-American to serve as an Article III judge in Illinois.”
“Since joining the bench, he has written hundreds of opinions, presided over 35 trials that went to verdict or judgment. He sat by designation on the Seventh Circuit a number of times, writing several opinions for the majority.”
“His nomination to the district court ten years ago was historic. And he is poised again to make history as a nominee to the Seventh Circuit. If confirmed, he will be the first Asian-American judge to serve on that court.”
“It’s also my great pleasure to introduce Nancy Maldonado, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She was born in Skokie. [Ms. Maldonado] earned her A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and her J.D. from Columbia Law School before returning to Illinois to clerk for my friend Judge Rubén Castillo on the Northern District.”
“After clerking on the court for two years, she spent the last 19 years in private practice, specializing in plaintiff-side employment, civil rights, and fraud litigation.”
“She has worked outside the courtroom to keep Illinoisans safe. In 2019, she was appointed by Governor Pritzker and confirmed by the [Illinois] Senate to serve as a member of the Illinois State Police Merit Board, which runs the equitable merit process for the selection and promotion of officers for the Illinois State Police.”
Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.
Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) have established nonpartisan screening committees to assist them in evaluating candidates for vacant federal district court, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal positions in Illinois. The task of the screening committees is to review and vet candidates for the vacancies and advise the Senators regarding the candidates’ qualifications and fitness for the position.
Bios of the Illinois nominees from the White House are included below:
Judge John Z. Lee: Nominee for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Judge John Z. Lee has served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois since 2012. From 1999 to 2012, Judge Lee was an associate and then partner at Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago. From 1996 to 1999, Judge Lee was an associate at Grippo & Elden LLC, and from 1994 to 1996, he was an associate at Mayer Brown LLP. Mr. Lee served as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1992 to 1994.
Judge Lee received his A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard College in 1989, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1992.
Nancy L. Maldonado: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Nancy L. Maldonado is a partner at Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Maldonado joined the firm as an associate in 2003 and was elevated to partner in 2010. Ms. Maldonado previously served as a law clerk for Judge Rubén Castillo on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois from 2001 to 2003.
Ms. Maldonado received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2001, and her A.B., cum laude, from Harvard College in 1997.
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