News Releases

Senator Murray Introduces Professor Rosanna Peterson at Senate Judiciary Confirmation Hearing

Nov 18 2009

Murray praises nominee for Eastern District of Washington judgeship as a mentor in the Washington state legal community

Listen to Senator Murray’s Opening Statement

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, US. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced Gonzaga Law Professor Rosanna Peterson at her nomination hearing to the federal bench for the Eastern District of Washington State. At the hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Murray praised Peterson’s work ethic, professionalism, and understanding of the law. Senator Murray also noted that Peterson’s nomination was the product of the bipartisan selection commission she helped to create. Peterson would be the first woman to serve on the bench of the Eastern District of Washington. 

The Judiciary Committee will vote on Professor Peterson’s nomination in the coming weeks, it will then go to the full Senate for confirmation.

Senator Murray’s Introduction of Professor Peterson at today’s hearing:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Sessions, and Members of the Committee.

Along with my colleague Senator Cantwell, it’s my pleasure to introduce Rosanna Malouf Peterson.  Rosanna is a distinguished law professor and attorney who has been nominated to serve as the next federal judge for the Eastern District of Washington. 

I want to welcome Professor Peterson and her husband, Fredrick Peterson, to this hearing. I also want to welcome their daughter Miranda Malouf Peterson Darby and Professor Peterson’s brother in law and sister in law, Don and Sherry Shipley, who are joining us today. I think it speaks to the type of nominee she is that so many of Professor Peterson’s friends and current and former students are also here to support her confirmation. 

Professor Peterson’s Background

Mr. Chairman, I’m honored to recommend that the Senate confirm Rosanna Malouf Peterson as a District Court Judge for the Eastern District of my home state.

Professor Peterson has strong bi-partisan support -- and with good reason. 

She has devoted her career to serving the interests of justice and to instilling those values in a future generation of leaders. 

Professor Peterson is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, where she earned her bachelors, masters, and law degrees.

After law school, she started her legal career in the chambers of Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane – the very same seat that she has now been nominated to fill.

During her distinguished career Professor Peterson has worked as an attorney in Spokane-area law firms for corporate and individual clients.  She has worked in private practice often representing teachers, and she has worked as a court-appointed representative for criminal defendants in state and federal court.

Since 1999, Professor Peterson has been a law professor at the Gonzaga Law School in Spokane where she is an assistant professor of law and director of the law school’s externship program.  At the same time, Professor Peterson has maintained her private practice, where she has continued to work with federal defendants on a pro bono or reduced fee basis.

Professor Peterson has also played a leadership role in the Washington legal community, including President of the Federal Bar Association of Eastern Washington, President of the Washington Women Lawyers Bar Association and on the judicial selection committee that helped recommend a magistrate judge in 2003.  In recognition of her service, in 2006, she was awarded the Smithmoore Myers Professionalism Award, the Spokane County Bar Association’s highest honor. 

Professor Peterson’s accomplishments stand for themselves. But I have also received numerous letters and emails testifying to Professor Peterson’s toughness, work ethic, understanding of the law and advocacy on behalf of her clients. 

I have also received many letters from her former students and people she has mentored taught and befriended over the years. Letters that all say she has made a difference in the lives of so many in my state.

She clearly meets the standards of fairness, even-handedness, and adherence to the law that we expect of our federal judges. Outside of her many professional credentials, I’ve been able to speak with her, and I’ve been impressed by her professionalism and decency. 

I know I speak on behalf of a large number in the Washington State legal community in supporting the nomination of Rosanna Peterson to be the next district judge for the Eastern District of Washington.

Selection Committee Work

I think it is also important to note for the Committee that Professor Peterson’s nomination was the product of a bipartisan selection commission that we use in Washington state. The commission was formed and did much of its work under the previous administration and has proven that it works even as we move from one administration to the next. I’m proud to have created the selection commission and believe that it is something that has served our state and our federal judiciary well.

Therefore, it is my pleasure to introduce, a great lawyer, teacher and mentor who I believe will make an exceptional Federal judge. I urge this committee to approve her nomination, and I hope we can confirm Professor Peterson before the full Senate quickly. 

Thank you.