Durbin Announces Bipartisan Screening Committee for Federal Judges in the Northern District

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today announced the formation of a bipartisan screening committee to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges for the Northern District of Illinois. There are currently three vacant judgeships in the Northern District, and the immediate task of the screening committee is to review applications and make recommendations to Durbin for filling current and future vacancies.


The screening committee will be comprised of 10 distinguished Illinoisans drawn from various aspects of the legal profession including former judges, prominent litigators, bar association leaders, and former prosecutors and defenders. Dick Devine, former Cook County State’s Attorney and current partner at the law firm of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP, will chair the committee. (A complete list and short bios of all panel members is included below.)


“Making recommendations to the White House on judicial nominees is one of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator, and I am particularly pleased that these outstanding Illinoisans have agreed to advise me in selecting the best possible candidates to recommend to President Obama,” said Durbin.


Durbin, who was first elected to the Senate in 1996, is the senior senator from Illinois. The senior senator from the President’s political party has traditionally had the lead role in making recommendations to the President for the positions of Federal District Court Judge, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal in the senator’s home state.


During the Clinton Presidency, Durbin worked closely with Senator Peter Fitzgerald to ensure that the most qualified people for federal judgeships were recommended to the President with bipartisan support in order to secure their confirmation. Before making recommendations to President Obama, Durbin will consult with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) who is expected to establish a similar selection process in the Northern District.


“Without bipartisan effort in the Senate, it is very difficult to secure the confirmation of even the best qualified judicial nominees,” Durbin said. “Senator Kirk and I will be working together to submit the most qualified people for federal judgeships and secure their confirmation.”


Applications for these positions are available on Senator Durbin’s website (https://www.durbin.senate.gov/issues/crime.cfm). The application questionnaire is nearly identical to those used by the Senate Judiciary Committee and will help provide insight into potential nominees’ backgrounds and qualifications. The deadline for submission of completed applications is Monday, January 31.


The screening committee will review the applications, interview applicants and references, and make recommendations to Senator Durbin as quickly as possible. The screening committee will recommend the names of several individuals to Senator Durbin for each vacancy.


Durbin will review the screening committee’s recommendations, conduct interviews of finalists, and – in consultation with Senator Kirk – submit his recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on nominees.


Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, the nominee will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Durbin is a member, and will ultimately receive a vote in the committee. If a nomination is approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will receive a vote by the full Senate.


Members of the Northern District Screening Committee named by Durbin include:


Dick Devine (chair). Mr. Devine was elected Cook County State’s Attorney in 1996 and served in that role until 2008. Prior to his service as State’s Attorney, his public sector positions included President of the Chicago Park District, First Assistant State’s Attorney of Cook County and Administrative Assistant to Mayor Richard J. Daley. He has also engaged in the private practice of law for almost 25 years, specifically in civil and white collar criminal litigation. He currently is a partner at the law firm of Meckler Bulger Tilson Marick & Pearson LLP, where he leads the firm’s white-collar criminal defense and commercial litigation practices. In January, 2010, Mr. Devine was named by the Chicago Lawyer magazine as one of the 10 for Ten Attorneys Who Raised the Bar Over the Last Decade.


Demetrius Carney. Mr. Carney is a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie. He is the president of the Chicago Police Board and a former commissioner for the City of Chicago's Plan Commission. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America publication.


Philip Corboy, Jr. Mr. Corboy is a partner at the law firm of Corboy & Demetrio. He is president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, president of the board of directors of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, former board member of the Chicago Bar Association, and member of the dean’s council of DePaul University law school. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America and Illinois Super Lawyers publications.


Kevin Forde. Mr. Forde has his own law practice in Chicago. He is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association, board chair of the Federal Defender Program in the Northern District of Illinois, counsel to the Federal Judges Association, and chair of the Illinois Compensation Review Board. He served as a law clerk to Judge William Campbell in the Northern District of Illinois. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America and Illinois Super Lawyers publications.


Patricia Holmes. Ms. Holmes is a partner at the law firm of Schiff Hardin, where she heads the white collar crime group. She previously served as a former state trial judge, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, and Chief Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago. She served as president of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago and on the Chicago Bar Association board of managers. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the “Top 50 Women Lawyers” by Illinois Super Lawyers.


Betty Jang. Ms. Jang is legal counsel and director at CVS Caremark in Northbrook. Previously she served as senior counsel at the McDonald’s Corporation, a litigator at Hinshaw & Culbertson, an attorney with the Cook County Public Defender, and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois law school. She was listed in “20 Women Who Make a Difference” in the Minorities & Women in Business Magazine and in “Best Lawyers Under 40” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and received the Young Lawyer of the Year award from the Illinois State Bar Association.


Paul Logli. Paul Logli is currently President and CEO of the United Way of Rock River Valley. He previously served for 21 years as the State’s Attorney for Winnebago County, and also served as a judge on the 17th Judicial Circuit Court. Logli is a past president of the National District Attorneys Association, the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, and the Winnebago County Bar Association.


Cheryl Niro. Ms. Niro is a principal in the law firm of RobinsonNiro PC. She previously served as past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. She also served as the first executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, and was a founding director of the National Center for Conflict Resolution Education. She also served as special counsel to past Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan as his liaison to the Illinois child support system.


Michele Ruiz. Ms. Ruiz is a partner at the law firm of Sidley Austin, and she was named one of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” by the publisher of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer magazine. She was selected as a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, and she received the 10th annual Latino Community Donor Award by Latinos in Development and Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy. She has served as co-chair of the Alliance of Latinos and Jews.


Diana White. Ms. White is the executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, where she received the Equal Justice Award. Previously she was a partner at Jenner & Block and a law clerk to Judge Walter Cummings on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.