Senators Advance DC Judicial Picks and Marshal Nominee

WASHINGTON (CN) — Three attorneys nominated by President Donald Trump for seats on District of Columbia courts and a former federal investigator chosen to serve as the D.C. Superior Court’s U.S. marshal sailed through a committee hearing Tuesday on their way to confirmation in the full Senate.

The H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, home of the District of Columbia Superior Court. (Photo via AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikipedia)

Of the three judicial nominees appearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Joshua A. Deahl is the only one up for a spot on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Deahl has clerked for former Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy and worked at the Public Defender Service for D.C., as well as the D.C. law firm O’Melveny & Meyers, where he represented large companies.

Deborah J. Israel and Andrea L. Hertzfeld were both nominated to fill judicial vacancies on the District of Columbia Superior Court. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced them and said each had exceptional qualifications for the positions.

Israel, a partner at the D.C. law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, heads the firm’s litigation practice and has spent her entire legal career in the nation’s capital. She has been recognized as one of the country’s top 100 lawyers, according to Norton.

Hertzfeld, a graduate of Harvard Law School, spent six years practicing civil litigation at two separate firms before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C. She has served in the position for nine years.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., acknowledged that all three judicial nominees are the first in their families to hold a college degree and asked how this would positively affect serving in their positions.

Deahl said he felt bringing his hard-working ethic to the bench would serve the D.C. Court of Appeals’ annual 1,500 cases well, by being able to sort through and finish cases expediently. Managing a judicial staff and getting acclimated to the workload would be a challenge, but Deahl also said his general empathy for others would serve him well if confirmed.

“It obviously plays into my current role as a public defender, where I work with people who have made some of the most horrific mistakes imaginable. But when I sit across from them, I’m still capable of recognizing our shared humanity no matter what their crime was,” he said.

Hertzfeld agreed, saying a strong work ethic gives her the ability to manage the large workload at the Superior Court. Integrity is another guiding principal, she said.

“My parents were two hard-working people who were very strongly guided by this principal and knowing what it was that was their compass in terms of making good decisions, fair decisions, looking at people equally and with open-mindedness,” Hertzfeld said. “I think all of those are the embodiment of positive integrity and I would intend to bring that to the bench, to make fair and lawful decisions as a judge.”

The committee also heard from Robert A. Dixon, nominated to serve as U.S. marshal for the D.C. Superior Court. He has spent more than 35 years in the law enforcement field. In 1980, Dixon became an investigator in the U.S. Department of Labor focused on labor management standards. He then worked at the department’s Office of the Inspector General until 2016.

“During my extensive career, I demonstrated my commitment to honorably and effectively serve the American public and our country. As the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country, there would be no greater honor for me than to continue my career in public service with the prestigious United States Marshals Service,” Dixon said in prepared testimony.

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