News Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA), made the following statements after the White House announced three judicial nominees to fill vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The nominees announced by the White House are Judge Beth M. Andrus, J. Michael Diaz, and Kathleen M. O’ Sullivan. Last year,  Murray, Cantwell, and Reichert worked together to promote a bipartisan process by forming a selection committee comprised of both Democrats and Republicans, and these nominees were among those recommended through this process.

 

Sen. Murray said: “The President has selected three outstanding nominees to serve the people of Washington state. I’m especially proud of the bipartisan commission in Washington state that worked tirelessly to identify these highly-qualified nominees. I thank Judges Lasnik, Pechman, and Robart for their outstanding public service and I look forward to working with my colleagues to start the confirmation process, consider the nominees, and get them a vote.”

 

Sen. Cantwell said: “I applaud the president’s appointments.  These nominees are well qualified and will continue to add needed diversity to the federal bench.  I am certain the people of Washington will be well-served by their legal intellect, wisdom, and commitment to justice. I will press for the Senate to move forward on their confirmation as soon as possible. I thank Judges Lasnik, Pechman, and Robart for serving the people of Washington state with distinction.”

 

Rep. Reichert said: “Congratulations to Judge Beth Andrus, J. Michael Diaz, and Kathleen O’Sullivan on their nominations, and a special thank you to Judges Lasnik, Pechman, and Robart for their years of hard work and dedication to justice. We must also thank the bipartisan selection committee for its commitment to identifying strong candidates to serve Washington state. High-quality federal judges are critical to the success of our justice system and I am confident, once confirmed, these nominees will serve our region honorably."

 

About the Bipartisan Selection Process: Following long-standing Washington state tradition, and in order to ensure a bipartisan process to fill vacant seats on the federal courts, Sens. Murray and Cantwell joined Rep. Reichert last year to create a new judicial selection committee to evaluate interested candidates. The committee, comprised of three Democrats and three Republicans from Western Washington, screened potential candidates and presented its choice of the most highly-qualified to Murray and Cantwell, who then forwarded the names to President Obama. The President made the final decision regarding the selection of nominees.

 

Information on the nominees from the White House:

 

Judge Beth M. Andrus:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Judge Beth M. Andrus has served as a Superior Court Judge for Washington's King County Superior Court since 2010.  She currently serves as the court's Chief Civil Judge and previously served as the Assistant Presiding Judge in 2015.  Prior to her appointment to the court, from 1995 to 2010, she was as a partner in the law firm of Skellenger Bender, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.  From 1989 to 1995, she worked in two law firms located in Seattle, Washington -- Miller Nash Wiener Hager & Carlsen (now Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP) from 1990 to 1995 and Schweppe, Krug & Tausend (no longer operational) in 1989.  Judge Andrus began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Gerald W. Heaney of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1988 to 1989.  She received her J.D. cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1988 and her B.A. summa cum laude from Wayne State University in 1985.

 

J. Michael Diaz:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

J. Michael Diaz has served as the Civil Rights Program Coordinator for the Civil Division of the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington since 2011, and he has served as an Assistant United States Attorney since 2008.  From 2006 to 2008, he worked in the Seattle, Washington law firm of Yarmuth Wilsdon Calfo PLLC (now Yarmuth Wilsdon PLLC), litigating commercial and white collar matters.  Diaz began his legal career as an associate in the Houston, Texas office of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP (now Norton Rose Fulbright), where he worked from 2002 to 2006.  He received his J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2002 and his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1996. 

 

Kathleen M. O'Sullivan:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington

Kathleen M. O'Sullivan is a partner in the Seattle, Washington law firm of Perkins Coie, where she specializes in appellate and commercial litigation.  She joined the law firm as an associate in 1997 and was elevated to partner in 2004.  O'Sullivan has spent the entirety of her legal career at Perkins Coie, with the exception of the two years she spent clerking.  She served as a law clerk to the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 1998 to 1999 and the Honorable Harold H. Greene of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 1996 to 1997.  She received her J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1996 and her B.A. cum laude from Yale University in 1991.