Senate Panel Endorses Trump Pick for Bench in Hawaii

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday unanimously approved President Donald Trump’s nominee for a position on a federal court in Hawaii.

At a business meeting dominated by talk of a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fire without good cause, Jill Otake, who is up for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, was the lone judicial nominee on the agenda to receive a vote.

Otake sailed through on a voice vote with no objections and now heads to the full Senate for confirmation.

“She is exactly the type of nominee this president or any president should be putting forward for every district court vacancy,” Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said before the vote Thursday.

Otake has worked as a federal prosecutor since 2005, starting her career in Washington before moving to Hawaii in 2014. Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Otake worked at the state level in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

In response to questions submitted in writing after her March nomination hearing, Otake told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., her time as a prosecutor has given her valuable insights that she will apply to her decision making on the bench.

“My work as  a prosecutor has also humbled me and made me aware of the gravity of each decision I make,” Otake wrote. “I am sensitive to the power I hold and treat it with humility and respect. If fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would understand that the position is greater than I am and that the public confidence in the judiciary is governed in large part by the behavior of judges.”

The committee was also set to consider Sixth Circuit nominee John Nalbandian, U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut nominee Kari Dooley and U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona Dominic Lanza on Thursday, but not enough lawmakers were present at the hearing to hold votes on their nominations.

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