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Senator Murray's Ten-Month Effort Succeeds in Confirming Washington’s First Latino District Court Judge

Jun 15 2004

Murray's work for home-state nominee leads to confirmation of highly qualified judge

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Ricardo Martinez as a District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Since her first meeting with Judge Martinez in August 2003, Senator Murray has worked with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and the White House to get Judge Martinez nominated and confirmed. The nomination was approved today by a vote of 98-0.

Immediately after the vote, Senator Murray called Judge Martinez from the Senate floor to congratulate him.

"They're cheering at the Martinez household. I am proud to have worked to confirm Judges Martinez. He is a highly qualified jurist of great integrity, and his confirmation marks progress for Washington state," Murray said. "Today's vote proves that when we work together to find strong, qualified candidates for the judiciary, Washington state wins."

Judge Martinez, the first Latino district judge in the history of Washington state, has been a distinguished Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. He has also served Washington state as Superior Court Judge and a King County prosecutor. Judge Martinez was named the first Drug Court judge in Washington state and worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this program, which uses treatment services as an alternative to incarceration.

"Judge Martinez clearly meets the standards of fairness and adherence to the law that we look for in our federal judges. Outside of his numerous professional credentials, I have met with him, and I have been impressed by his professionalism and decency," Murray said. "It is my pleasure to support the nomination of Judge Martinez to the federal bench, where he will continue to serve the people of Washington state well.”

A 10-Month Journey

Senator Murray met with Judge Martinez in August 2003 and immediately supported his nomination, which the White House announced on August 13, 2003. On October 14th, 2003, the White House officially sent his nomination to the U.S. Senate for consideration. On January 22, 2004, Murray introduced him before the Senate Judiciary Committee and urged her colleagues to support his confirmation. On February 20, 2004, Murray shared Martinez’s inspiring story with students at the fourth annual conference of Washington’s Latino/a Educational Achievement Project (LEAP) in Olympia, Washington. On March 4, 2003, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Martinez’s nomination and sent his confirmation to the full Senate, which today confirmed Judge Martinez.

Success Confirming Washington Judges

Murray has led several bipartisan efforts to confirm Washington state judges, including:

  • Richard Tallman's confirmation as a U.S. Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000;
  • Ron Leighton’s confirmation as a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Washington (Tacoma) in 2002;
  • Lonny Suko, who was confirmed July 15, 2003 as the new U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington;
  • and the pending confirmation of James “Jim” Robart to be a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington. Senator Murray spoke in favor of Robart’s confirmation on February 11, 2003.