Durbin Chairs Senate Committee on Central District Judicial Nominees

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today chaired a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nominations of Sue Myerscough and James Shadid – two individuals nominated by President Obama to fill vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Both nominees are expected to receive a vote in the committee within the next few weeks. If approved, they will receive a vote by the full Senate.


Durbin established three bipartisan screening committees comprised of 22 distinguished Illinoisans to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Marshals for Illinois. After holding several meetings, reviewing the applications and conducting interviews, the screening committees recommended the names of several individuals for each vacancy. Durbin reviewed the screening committees’ recommendations, conducted interviews of finalists, and last fall, in consultation with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, submitted the names of seven individuals to the President, who made the final decisions on nominees.


The text of Durbin’s remarks as prepared are below:


Statement of Senator Dick Durbin

Senate Judiciary Committee

Nominations Hearing

September 15, 2010


Introduction of James Shadid & Sue Myerscough


Now I would like to say a few words about Jim Shadid and Sue Myerscough, who have been nominated to fill judgeships in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.


Both of these individuals came through a bipartisan merit selection committee that I established last year to consider applications for the Central District. They are excellent nominees and I was pleased to submit their names to the White House.


Currently there is only one active status district court judge in the Central District. The remaining three judgeships in the District are vacant. The Central District is a large district, and one judge cannot cover it alone. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has determined that these Central District vacancies arejudicial emergencies.


It goes without saying that we cannot provide justice through our federal court system unless we have judges on the bench. The Central District is in urgent need of new judges, and I will work to ensure that today’s nominees are confirmed before the end of the year.


James Shadid


Jim Shadid has been nominated to fill the Peoria-based seat that was vacated when Judge Michael Mihm took senior status. Jim is a leading figure in the Peoria legal community, and he currently serves as a judge on the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Peoria County.


Judge Shadid was born in Peoria, and received his undergraduate degree from Bradley University. He was quite the baseball player for the Bradley Braves - he was a two-time team MVP and was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame. After graduation, he played a season of minor league baseball before turning his talents to the legal profession. He received his J.D. from John Marshall Law School in 1983.


Judge Shadid was first appointed as a circuit judge in 2001, and he won retention elections in 2002 and 2008. He has presided over approximately 300 trials and thousands of additional pleas and sentencings.


Prior to his service on the state bench, Judge Shadid, among other positions, worked as an attorney in private practice, as a part-time Peoria County public defender, as a part-time commissioner on the Illinois Court of Claims, and as an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.


In additional to his broad legal experience, Judge Shadid has an impressive record of service to the Peoria community, including his tenure as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Peoria and his service on the boards of numerous other local public interest associations.


Finally, I will note that Judge Shadid was the first Arab-American to serve as a state judge in Illinois. Upon his confirmation he will be the only Arab-American federal judge in the state. There is a large Arab-American community in Peoria, including my friend and former colleague Ray LaHood, who is currently serving in the Obama Administration as Transportation Secretary. I know this community is proud of Judge Shadid.


Sue Myerscough


Sue Myerscough, who has been nominated to fill the Springfield-based seat vacated by the retirement of Judge Jeanne Scott, has long been a prominent figure in the Springfield legal landscape. She has over 23 years of judicial experience, and currently serves as an elected justice on Illinois’ Fourth District Appellate Court.


Justice Myerscough is a Springfield native, and she earned her B.A. and law degree from Southern Illinois University. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge Harold Baker of the Central District. Following her clerkship she worked for six years in private practice.


Justice Myerscough was appointed as an associate judge of the Illinois 7th Judicial Circuit in Springfield in 1987, and in 1990 she was elected as a circuit judge for that court. During her 11 years as a trial judge, she presided over thousands of bench and jury trials including complex civil litigation and murder trials.


In 1998 Justice Myerscough was elected to her current seat on the Illinois Appellate Court, and in 2008 she won her retention election. During her 12 years on the appellate court, she has authored over 1,200 decisions on a wide range of issues.


Justice Myerscough has worked actively to promote legal education for schoolchildren, and since 2001 has served on the board of visitors for Southern Illinois University Law School. Since 1994 she has served as an adjunct professor at the SIU School of Medicine, an institution where I also had the privilege of teaching.


Justice Myerscough was first nominated to serve as a federal district court judge fifteen years ago by President Clinton, but she never received a hearing. Justice Myerscough, you have waited a long time for this hearing and it’s my pleasure to welcome you here today.