Birmingham Attorney Confirmed for Federal Bench in Alabama

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly confirmed an Alabama attorney to a seat on the federal court in Birmingham.

Annemarie Axon has been with the firm of Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt since 2008, becoming a member in 2013. Before joining the firm, Axon worked  as assistant vice president of AmSouth Bank and before that as an associate at the Providence, R.I., firm Edwards & Angell.

The Senate confirmed Annemarie Axon to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama with a 83-11 vote on Wednesday morning.

While a “substantial majority” of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary found Axon qualified, a minority of the committee rated her not qualified. The group did not provide an explanation for the determination.

Axon’s practice in Alabama focuses on trust and estate cases and she litigated issues from environmental to employment law while working in Rhode Island, according to her Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.

In written questions submitted to Axon after her nomination hearing in September, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wondered how Axon was preparing for a job on the bench given her relatively limited trial experience.

Axon explained that while most of the cases on which she has worked were resolved in settlements, the work that goes into preparing such cases for trial will benefit her on the bench. She also said she is preparing to handle criminal matters, in which she has no experience, by taking meetings with federal prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys who will help her better understand “various procedural and substantive issues.”

Axon also told Feinstein she is reviewing “reading materials” provided to her by Chief U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre to help her get up to speed on criminal law issues.

“I have always been intellectually curious about matters affecting our constitutional rights and therefore make an effort to keep abreast of cases before the Supreme Court, including those involving both procedural and substantive criminal law,” Axon wrote to Feinstein.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., praised Axon’s confirmation in a statement on Wednesday, saying she has “spent her entire career devoted to the law.”

“Annemarie Axon is exceptionally qualified to be a U.S. district judge,” Shelby said in a statement. “Her strong, respectful temperament and commitment to impartiality make her well-suited for this esteemed position.”

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