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Murray Applauds Senate Confirmation of Professor Rosanna Peterson to be District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington State

Jan 25 2010

Rosanna Peterson confirmed as first female judge from the Eastern District of Washington state

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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, US. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the floor of the Senate urging her colleagues to confirm Gonzaga Law Professor Rosanna Peterson to the federal bench for the Eastern District of Washington State. 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 was then confirmed by the full Senate by a vote of 89-0.

“I am very happy that Professor Rosanna Peterson has been confirmed as the next Federal judge for the Eastern District of Washington state,” Senator Patty Murray said following the Senate vote. “Rosanna Peterson is a leader in the Washington state legal community. She is a great lawyer, teacher and mentor, and I believe she will make an exceptional Federal judge.”

Murray introduced Peterson at her successful Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on November 18, 2009.

Senator Murray’s speech on the Senate floor in support of Professor Peterson follows:

“Mr. President, I rise in support of Professor Rosanna Malouf Peterson.  She is a distinguished law professor and attorney –– a woman who enjoys broad bipartisan support and who deserves a seat on the federal bench.

“I was pleased to introduce Professor Peterson before the Judiciary Committee last November and meet her and her family. 

“I also thought it was telling of the type of nominee she is that so many of her current and former students were there to support her confirmation. 

“Mr. President, I’m honored to recommend that the Senate confirm Professor 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.

“I think it is also important to note for my colleagues that Professor Peterson’s nomination was the product of a bipartisan selection commission that we use in Washington state. 

“To get to where we are today with this confirmation vote, the commission was formed and did much of its work on Professor Peterson under the previous administration.  It has proven that it works even as we moved 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 recommend my colleagues to confirm a great lawyer, teacher  and mentor who I believe will make an exceptional Federal judge. 

“And I urge my colleagues to vote for the confirmation of Professor Rosanna Peterson as the next district judge for the Eastern District of Washington.

“Thank you.”