Durbin Chairs Senate Committee Hearing On Illinois Judicial Nominees
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today chaired a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which he is a member, on President Obama’s nominations of Jorge Alonso to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Durbin introduced Judge Alonso, who was recommended by Durbin after he conducted extensive interviews with the finalists chosen by a bipartisan screening committee. A photo of Senator Durbin and Judge Alonso following today’s hearing is available here.
Today’s hearing also considered the nomination of John Blakey to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Judge Blakey was recommended to President Obama by U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) under a long-standing Illinois tradition that allows the highest ranking member from the opposite party one recommendation for every three made by the senior senator. Both nominations are expected to receive a vote in the committee within the next few weeks. If approved, those nominations will receive a vote by the full Senate.
“In addition to his substantial courtroom and judicial experience, Judge Alonso has an admirable record of service to the Chicago community,” said Durbin. “To put it simply, Judge Alonso is an outstanding nominee. He has the experience, the integrity and the judgment to be an excellent federal judge.”
Judge Alonso has served as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2003. He currently serves in the Criminal Division and also presides over a specialty court program for women with mental illness in the criminal justice system. He previously worked for over eleven years as an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Cook County Public Defender. He is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School. Judge Alonso lives in Park Ridge.
A video of Senator Durbin’s introducing Judge Alonso is available here.
Excerpts from Durbin’s remarks as prepared are below:
Senate Judiciary Committee
September 9, 2014
Good morning, this hearing of the Judiciary Committee will come to order. Today we will consider five highly qualified nominees to the federal bench. The nominees are:
- Jorge Luis Alonso, who has been nominated to be a district judge for the Northern District of Illinois;
- John Robert Blakey, also nominated for the Northern District of Illinois;
- Amos L. Mazzant III, nominated for the Eastern District of Texas;
- Robert William Schroeder III, also nominated for the Eastern District of Texas;
- And Robert Lee Pittman, nominated for the Western District of Texas.
At these hearings, it is traditional for nominees to be introduced before the Committee by Senators from their home states.
Unless the ranking member has any opening remarks, we will proceed with the introductions. I will begin by introducing Jorge Alonso from Illinois, and then turn to my colleague Senator Kirk who will introduce Jack Blakey and my colleagues from Texas for their introductions.
I am pleased to introduce Judge Jorge Alonso before this committee.
Judge Alonso has been nominated to fill the vacancy in the Northern District of Illinois that will open up on November 16 when Judge Ronald Guzman takes senior status.
Since 2003, Judge Alonso has served as an Associate Judge for the Cook County Judicial Circuit. He is currently in his third appointed term as an Associate Judge, and he presides over felony cases at the Cook County Criminal Court Building.
As a state trial court judge, Judge Alonso has presided over hundreds of cases that have gone to verdict or judgment, including at least 88 jury trials.
He also presides over the Women’s Justice Mental Health Call in Cook County. Judge Alonso helped to create this program, and it provides intensive support and services to women in the justice system who have suffered from trauma and addiction.
Prior to serving as a state court judge, Judge Alonso served for 12 years as an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County. He initially handled civil proceedings in the Child Protection Division of the Public Defender’s Office, and then later worked in the Juvenile Justice Division and the Felony Trial Division.
As a public defender he participated in approximately 30 jury trials and 150 bench trials.
In addition to his substantial courtroom and judicial experience, Judge Alonso has an admirable record of service to the Chicago community.
Among his activities, he serves on the boards of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships and support to low-income Chicago students, and the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.
He also works as a judicial intervenor with the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, which assists members of the bar who are struggling with mental health or addiction issues.
Judge Alonso received his undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and his law degree from the George Washington University Law School.
To put it simply, Judge Alonso is an outstanding nominee. He has the experience, the integrity and the judgment to be an excellent federal judge.
In Illinois we have a bipartisan process for recommending district court judicial candidates to the White House.
Under this system I recommended Judge Alonso for the federal bench, and I thank my colleague Senator Kirk for signing a blue slip signaling his support for the nomination.
Judge Alonso has a few more supporters in the audience who I’d like to acknowledge today:
- His wife, Amee;
- His daughter Lila, age 13,
- His daughter Lulu, age 11;
- His mother, Ursula;
- And his mother and father-in law, Rosemarie and Bob Orlick.
We are glad to have all of you here today.
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