The Senate Judiciary Committee approved three judicial nominations today for district court spots in Michigan, California and New York.
A voice vote was nearly unanimous for the three non-controversial nominees: Terrence Berg for the Eastern District of Michigan, Jesus Bernal for the Central District of California and Lorna Schofield for the Southern District of New York, who could become the first Filipino-American to serve as federal judge.
During questioning at a confirmation hearing for the three nominees in June, the most questions were for Berg. He wrote a disciplinary proposal for federal prosecutors who failed to turn over Brady evidence in the botched prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, which was released only a few days earlier.
Berg has been an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan since 1989, with the exception of several assignments, including a detail at DOJ's Professional Misconduct Review Unit.
Schofield, who recently became of counsel at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City after 20 years as a partner, has written and made speeches about the issues women face in the legal world, including when it was more dominated by men.
Schofield is a second-generation Filipino American. Organizations such as the National Federation of Filipino American Associations and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association applauded her nomination, according to the Asian Journal.
Before going to Debevoise & Plimpton, Schofield served for four years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where her significant cases involved prosecuting domestic terrorism, arms smuggling, and tax fraud.
Bernal has been a deputy federal public defender in the Central District of California since 1996, and has dedicated some of his time to working with Latino at-risk youth.
The nominees might not get a final confirmation vote from the full Senate until late in the year. They now join 16 other district and circuit court nominees pending before the Senate, which has been approving one or two judges per week for the last few months when they are in session. The Senate works through July and then takes a five-week break until Sept. 10.
Also this week, two different judicial nominees had confirmation hearings for spots with the Northern District of California.
Jon Tigar has been a judge on the Alameda County Superior Court since 2002, and practiced complex commercial litigation at Keker & Van Nest for eight years prior to taking the bench.
William Orrick III, is a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice¹s Civil Division in Washington, D.C.. Prior to joining DOJ in 2009, Orrick worked at the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass for 25 years.