October 28, 2021

Judiciary Committee Advances Nominations of Six Judicial Nominees and Three U.S. Attorneys

Committee also advances bipartisan False Claims Amendments Act of 2021 and Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nominations of Lucy Haeran Koh, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit; Jane M. Beckering, to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Michigan; Shalina D. Kumar, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan; Armando O. Bonilla, to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims; Carolyn N. Lerner, to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims; and Jonathan Kanter, to be an Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division. Koh received a bipartisan vote of 13-9; Beckering received a vote of 12-9-1; Kumar received a vote of 12-9-1; Bonilla, Lerner, and Kanter received a voice vote to advance out of Committee.

The Committee also unanimously advanced the nominations of Michael F. Easley, Jr., to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina; Sandra J. Hairston, to be United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina; and Dena J. King, to be United States Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

Key quotes on today’s judicial nominees:

“Judge Koh was an outstanding nominee in 2016 and she is an outstanding nominee today... In her tenure on the Northern District of California, Judge Koh has done precisely what we expect of federal judges—[she has] applied the law in an evenhanded and impartial way… And as she made clear to this Committee, she will apply all binding precedent, ‘faithfully, fully, and fairly.’”

“Since her appointment to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2007, [Judge Beckering] has shown that she understands the distinction between a practitioner and a judge. She has presided over approximately 4,070 cases and handled thousands of motions. She is experienced and independently minded.”

“During her 14 years on the second largest trial court in Michigan, [Judge Kumar] presided over 10,000 cases and more than 99 jury or bench trials, [covering] everything from civil to criminal to juvenile matters. She effectively managed the court’s navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before taking the bench, she practiced as a litigator and tried ten cases to verdict, judgement, or final decision.”

“As a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, Mr. Bonilla litigated over 100 cases before the Court of Federal Claims, and he handled over 50 appeals before the Federal Circuit. He has held numerous other roles in the Justice Department...was previously nominated to be a judge on the Court of Federal Claims in 2014, and this Committee advanced his nomination by voice vote—on two separate occasions. He would also bring greater diversity to the bench, as the first ever Latino judge on the Court of Federal Claims.”

“Carolyn Lerner…has ample experience as a neutral adjudicator. She is Chief Mediator for the D.C. Circuit, where she mediates approximately ten cases every year. And earlier in her career, she was appointed by a D.C. District Court judge to serve as a Special Inspector in a matter involving the D.C. Department of Corrections. Ms. Lerner has the skills and experience needed to serve with distinction.”

“[Mr. Kanter] is a distinguished and experienced antitrust lawyer. He has support from across the political spectrum. In a letter to the Committee, nine former heads of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division—representing every presidential administration going back to Gerald Ford—strongly supported Kanter’s nomination.”

The Committee also advanced S. 2428, False Claims Amendments Act of 2021, sponsored by Ranking Member Grassley and cosponsored by Chair Durbin, which strengthens the False Claims Act to help the government combat fraud and protect taxpayer dollars. The Committee also advanced S. 998, Driving for Opportunity Act of 2021, by voice vote. The bill, sponsored by Senator Coons and cosponsored by Chair Durbin, authorizes the Department of Justice to make grants to states that do not suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a driver's license or vehicle registration of an individual based on such individual's failure to pay a civil or criminal fine or fee.

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.

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