LOS ANGELES (CN) - President Barack Obama has nominated Eileen M. Decker as the next top prosecutor in the Central District of California.
U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., who recommended Decker to the White House, described her as an "excellent fit" for one of the top prosecutor jobs in the nation. She said she expected the Los Angeles deputy mayor to "serve with distinction" as U.S. Attorney.
Nineteen million residents live in the Central District of California, which includes the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura.
"Eileen's 15 years of experience as a federal prosecutor and her tenure as the Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety in Los Angeles make her an excellent fit for this position," Feinstein said Wednesday after the White House made the announcement.
For the past six years, Decker has been deputy mayor for homeland security and public safety in Los Angeles. She first served under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and now, Mayor Eric Garcetti.
In the post, Decker is responsible for matters related to the police department, fire department and emergency management department.
Decker was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California where she handled matters related to national security, fraud and organized crime.
The prosecutor was previously chief of the National Security Section of the U.S. Attorney's office and deputy chief of the Organized Crime and Terrorism Section.
"Eileen Decker is one of the nation's finest public safety professionals," Garcetti said in response to his deputy's nomination.
Feinstein makes recommendations from the Central District in California to the White House through a bipartisan advisory committee.
In 2008, Feinstein appointed San Diego lawyer David S. Casey as statewide chair for committees in each of the four federal districts in the state.
In the Central District, U.S. District Judge Holly Fujie chairs the committee with five other members.
Feinstein is thought to personally interview attorneys on the shortlist before forwarding two or three names to the President.
"It's certainly Senator Feinstein's preference that she has people she trusts do the initial review and then she makes the final call," Laurie L. Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School, told Courthouse News in an interview last year.
As vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Feinstein was likely impressed with Decker's public safety and security credentials.
From the early to mid-1990's Decker was an attorney at the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, according to a press release from Feinstein.
Decker graduated from New York University in 1982 with a bachelor's degree magna cum laude. She studied law at the New York University School of Law in 1990, and holds a master's degree from the Naval Post Graduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California.
She is a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
The U.S. Senate's Judiciary committee has to approve the President's nomination before it goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote.
If selected, Decker will fill the position left vacant by André Birotte Jr. who was confirmed as a federal judge last year.
Stephanie Yonekura is the current Acting U.S. Attorney in the district.
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