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Obama Nominates Three to Fill Judicial Vacancies

(CN) - President Barack Obama nominated three judges to new positions in the federal court system on Tuesday, including two proposed to serve on the Seventh Circuit.

The nominations came a day after the Senate confirmed the appointment of Luis Felipe Restrepo of Pennsylvania to the Third Circuit.

The two nominees for the Seventh Circuit are Donald Karl Schott, a partner with Quarles & Brady LLP in Madison, Wis., and Myra Selby, a partner with the Ice Miller law firm in Indianapolis who previously served as an associate justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.

Schott, who was nominated to fill the seat of the late U.S. Circuit Judge Terence Evans, is a seasoned litigator who has tried cases in state and federal courts, and argued before the Seventh and Ninth Circuit and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He is also admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.

During his more than three decades as a trial lawyer, Schott specialized in cases focusing on securities and business fraud, commercial disputes, heath care, and energy-related issues.

Selby was nominated to replace retired U.S. Circuit Judge John Daniel Tinder, has a practice that focuses on corporate internal investigations, appellate practice, compliance counseling, and risk management.

She is also an experienced commercial mediator and arbitrator.

Obama's other nomination on Tuesday was that of Winfield Ong, a federal prosecutor from Indiana, who has been nominated to fill a vacancy created with U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Baker assumed "Senior Judge" status in 2014.

Winfield D. Ong, of Indiana, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Indiana, vice Sarah Evans Barker, retired.

As criminal chief for the U.S. attorney's office in Southern Indiana, Ong specialized in white-collar fraud cases. Among his most noteworthy cases was the 2012 prosecution of Indianapolis businessman Tim Durham, who was convicted of bilking more than 5,000 investors out of $200 million.

With Monday's confirmation of Restrepo nine vacancies remain on the nation's appeals courts. At present, including those announced Tuesday, a total 32 Obama judicial nominees await votes.

Thus far, the Judiciary Committee has approved 13 of them.

On Tuesday, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, issued the statement that applauded the Senate for confirming Restrepo, but also observed that "even with today's action, the United States is experiencing the worst obstruction of judicial nominations in more than half a century."

This obstruction, Tanden said, has led to "unprecedented delays in justice and to the largest backlog of civil cases in history."

"Last year, the Senate Republican leadership failed to hold a vote on any circuit court judges, leading to nine circuit court seats remaining vacant," Tanden said. "Congress should spend 2016 filling the vacancies that ensure all Americans have equal access to justice."

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