Updated at 10:52 a.m.
The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission announced late Thursday that it has recommended a local prosecutor, a magistrate judge and an administrative law judge to fill retiring District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Zinora Mitchell-Rankin's seat.
Mitchell-Rankin retired Feb. 29. Sixteen attorneys and judges applied to take her spot on the bench. The commission recommended assistant U.S. Attorney Teresa Howie, Superior Court Magistrate Judge Kimberley Knowles and Administrative Law Judge Steven Wellner.
The White House has 60 days to pick a nominee, who will go before the U.S. Senate Committee for Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for confirmation proceedings.
Howie is deputy chief of the office’s Superior Court division, a position she’s held since 2007. She first joined the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. in 1990, serving previously as chief of the major crimes section, chief of the Fourth District, deputy chief of the general felony section and as a line attorney in the homicide and major crimes section.
She declined a request for comment. Before going into public service, she worked as an associate in Sidley Austin’s Washington office.
Knowles was appointed to Superior Court as a magistrate judge in 2010, and has presided over cases in the domestic violence branch and the criminal division. Before joining the bench, Knowles was an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C., serving as the deputy chief of the sex offense and domestic violence section since 2004. She first joined the office in 1997.
She declined to comment. After earning her J.D., Knowles clerked for District of Columbia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington, who was an associate judge in Superior Court at the time.
Wellner is the principal administrative law judge for unemployment insurance appeals in the city’s Office of Administrative Hearings. Before his appointment in 2006, Wellner was a partner at the Washington office of Kirkland & Ellis. His practice focused on environmental counseling for corporations and other clients, and he also managed the firm’s pro bono legal services program.
He declined a request for comment. He is a former board member and treasurer of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Howie and Wellner applied for previous Superior Court vacancies and were recommended to the White House for consideration, but were not chosen as the nominee. This is Knowles’s first time applying for a Superior Court associate judgeship.