Durbin, Duckworth Statement On Senate Judiciary Committee Advancing Nomination Of Colleen Lawless To Serve As District Court Judge For The Central District Of Illinois

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Judge Colleen Lawless to serve as a District Court Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois: 

“We are pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee has once again advanced the nomination of Judge Colleen Lawless to fill a judicial vacancy in the Central District of Illinois.  Her experience and qualifications will strengthen our federal bench, and we will continue to guide her nomination through until she is confirmed by the Senate.”

Judge Lawless’ nomination was advanced through the Senate Judiciary Committee in the last Congress, but did not receive a final confirmation vote on the floor.  President Biden re-nominated Judge Lawless last month.  Nominees that are re-nominated and previously received a Judiciary Committee hearing do not have to have an additional hearing before the Committee.

Now that Judge Lawless’ nomination has advanced out of Committee, her nomination will next receive a vote by the full Senate. 

On May 12, 2022, Judge Sue Myerscough of the Central District of Illinois sent a letter notifying the President that she intended to assume senior status upon confirmation of her successor.  In May, the Senators established a screening committee to review applicants to be a Federal District Court Judge in the Central District of Illinois.  Their screening committee is comprised of distinguished members of the Central District’s legal community.  The screening committee’s task was to review and vet District Court candidates and advise the Senators regarding the candidates’ qualifications and fitness for the position. 

In June 2022, the Senators sent a letter to the White House recommending three candidates for President Biden’s consideration for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, including Judge Lawless.

The nominee’s biography from the White House is below:

Colleen Lawless has served as an Associate Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Sangamon County, Illinois, since 2019.  Judge Lawless was previously a shareholder at Londrigan, Potter & Randle P.C. in Springfield, Illinois, from 2009 to 2019.  Judge Lawless received her J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 2009 and her B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2005.