President Barack Obama sent three judicial nominees to the Senate on Tuesday for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, all with experience working as public defenders or with a legal aid organization.
Nitza Quinones Alejandro, currently a judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas who has handled civil and criminal cases since 1991, spent two years as a staff attorney for Community Legal Services, Inc. in Philadelphia during the 1970s, according to a White House press release.
Luis Felipe Restrepo, a U.S. magistrate in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since 2006, was an assistant federal defender in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 1990 to 1993 and an assistant defender with the Defender Association of Philadelphia from 1987 to 1990, the White House said.
And Jeffrey Schmehl, a judge with the Berks County Court of Common Pleas since 2008 who previously served as the county’s solicitor, also was an assistant district attorney in the county from 1981 until 1986, and an assistant public defender in the same jurisdiction from 1980 until 1981.
The nominees would fill half of the six vacancies on the federal bench in that district, including two created this summer when Judge Berle Schiller took senior status in June and Judge Michael Baylson did the same in July, according to federal court records.
One of the district’s bench spots has remained open since Anita Brody took senior status in June 2009, those federal court records state.