Durbin Forwards Recommendations for Federal Judges in Central District to White House

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today forwarded a list of names to the White House to consider when filling positions for the U.S. District Court in the Central District of Illinois. There are currently vacancies to be filled on the U.S. District Court in the Central District.

Based on recommendations made by a bipartisan screening committee in the state, Durbin has forwarded the names of the following four individuals to the President for consideration as Federal Judges in the Central District: Colin Bruce, Sue Myerscough, Ronald Spears, and James Shadid.

“Making recommendations to the White House on federal judges nominees is one of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator, and I am pleased that we had so many highly qualified applicants for these posts,” said Durbin. “The screening committee worked diligently to evaluate each application and I met personally with those applicants the committee thought were particularly noteworthy. I am proud to forward these four names to President Obama – all of whom are well-qualified individuals who have proven track records in their fields. Each of them will make an outstanding appointment if they are selected.”

Traditionally the President consults with the state’s senior senator when making judicial and U.S. Attorney/U.S. Marshal appointments. In April, Durbin established three bipartisan screening committees to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges, U.S. Attorneys, and U.S. Marshals for Illinois. The screening committees were comprised of 22 distinguished Illinoisans drawn from various aspects of the legal profession and include former judges, prominent litigators, law professors, bar association leaders, former prosecutors and defenders. Springfield attorney James Potter serves as chairman of the Central District Screening Panel.

Members of the screening committees met throughout the spring and early summer, reviewing applications and references, and conducting interviews. In total, they reviewed nearly 150 applications for three Federal District Court Judge positions in the Northern District; the U.S. Attorney positions in the Central District and Southern District; and the U.S. Marshal positions in all three Districts. The screening committees recommended the names of several individuals for each vacancy.

Durbin reviewed the screening committees’ recommendations, conducted interviews of finalists, and, in consultation with members of the Illinois Congressional delegation, today submitted his recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on nominees.

Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, it will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Durbin is a member and the nominee will ultimately receive a vote in the committee. In the case of the District Court nominees, each will have a formal confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee. If approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will then receive a vote by the full Senate.

Biographical descriptions of those recommended by Senator Durbin today follow (all names are listed in alphabetical order by position):

Colin Bruce – Mr. Bruce has been a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Central District of Illinois since 1989. He has handled over 600 cases in federal court, including 60 jury trials and 80 appeals, and he has prosecuted major federal cases involving firearms, drugs, fraud, money laundering, and cybercrime. He earned a BA and JD from the University of Illinois.

Sue Myerscough – Judge Myerscough has served as a state appellate court judge on the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield since 1998. From 1987-1998, she was a state trial court judge on the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Springfield. She worked in private practice from 1981-1987, after serving as a judicial law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baker in the Central District of Illinois. She earned a BA and JD from Southern Illinois University, and she has been an adjunct professor at the SIU school of medicine and a member of the SIU law school board of visitors.

James Shadid – Judge Shadid has served as a state trial court judge in the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Peoria since 2001. He was a lawyer in private practice from 1983-2001, including part-time work as a Peoria County public defender and as a commissioner of the court of claims. He has been active in the community and served as president of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Peoria. Judge Shadid earned a BS from Bradley University, where he now serves as an adjunct professor, and a JD from John Marshall Law School.

Ronald Spears – Judge Spears has served as a state trial court judge in the Fourth Judicial Circuit in Taylorville since 1993. From 1979-1993, he worked at a small law firm in Taylorville and served for several years as the city attorney. Previously he served as a judicial law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge J. Waldo Ackerman in the Central District of Illinois. He has been active in many bar associations and currently serves as president of the Illinois Judges Association. Judge Spears served in the Illinois Army National Guard from 1972-2006, retiring at the rank of colonel. He was in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He has a BA from the University of Illinois and a JD from Southern Illinois University.