WASHINGTON – During today’s Judiciary Committee hearing, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned Eunice C. Lee, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit; and Veronica S. Rossman, nominee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit. Durbin highlighted their extensive and impressive professional backgrounds and asked them to reflect on the current state of justice in America today. Durbin also asked Ms. Rossman about the work she did to secure compassionate release for federal inmates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic pursuant to the compassionate release provisions of the bipartisan First Step Act, which was enacted into law in 2018.
“Senator Grassley and I had joined in asking the head of the Bureau of Prisons a year ago what plans were being made for this looming pandemic and crisis. And we were told at the time not to worry, that things were under control… well we know what happened afterwards unfortunately. Many hundreds died in our prisons… and we still have genuine concerns and issues such as compassionate release being debated,” Durbin said. “Tell us a little bit about your background with this issue.”
Ms. Rossman responded by discussing the significant portion of time she spent last year raising the alarm about the spread of COVID-19 among federal inmates and working to secure compassionate release for those eligible under the First Step Act.
Video of Durbin’s questions to Ms. Lee and Ms. Rossman in Committee is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s questions to Ms. Lee and Ms. Rossman in Committee is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s questions to Ms. Lee and Ms. Rossman in Committee is available here for TV Stations.
Durbin also questioned the three nominees to be United States District Judges for the Western District of Washington: David G. Estudillo, Lauren J. King, and Tana Lin. Durbin highlighted the nominees’ professional and demographic diversity and how their personal and professional experiences will benefit the federal bench.
“This is an amazing panel. When I look at your backgrounds and what you bring to this Judiciary Committee meeting and this Court, I feel good about this country because each one of you has something affirmative to say about opportunity and also about a struggle that you or someone in your family has been through so you could be here today,” Durbin said. “It is a great testament to our nation… and that you, with your determination, come before us.”
Judge Estudillo’s parents came from Mexico in the 1960s as part of the Bracero program, and he is the second youngest of ten children. He was born and raised in Washington State, which is also where he went to undergrad and law school. He has been a Grant County Superior Court Judge for almost six years now. During that time, he has presided over a thousand cases, including 46 that proceeded to trials that have gone to verdict or judgment.
Since 2013, Ms. King has served as an appellate judge in the Northwest Intertribal Court System. In this capacity, she has heard appeals on a range of legal issues, including tort claims, workers compensation claims, child custody, and visitation matters. She also worked in private practice as a litigator for approximately 12 years where she handled a wide variety of matters, including commercial contract disputes, construction litigation, and litigation before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. She has also devoted significant time to community service, including serving on the board of the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center that advocates for health and human services for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Ms. Lin has dedicated a significant portion of her legal career to defending Americans’ civil rights. On occasion, this has involved her representing the American Civil Liberties Union as a cooperating attorney. Ms. Lin immigrated to the United States from Taiwan at the age of three, initially settling with her parents in Kansas and later moving to Chicago. She has spoken about some of the challenges that she faced growing up, including not learning to speak English until the age of five.
Video of Durbin’s questions to Mr. Estudillo, Ms. King, and Ms. Lin in Committee is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s questions to Mr. Estudillo, Ms. King, and Ms. Lin in Committee is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s questions to Mr. Estudillo, Ms. King, and Ms. Lin in Committee is available here for TV Stations.