Durbin Questions Circuit Court Nominees At Latest Judiciary Committee Nominations Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today questioned Ana de Alba, nominated to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, and Irma Carrillo Ramirez, nominated to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit, at the latest Senate Judiciary Committee nominations hearing.

Durbin began by asking Judge Ramirez about the reentry court that she presides over in the Northern District of Texas.  The program provides supervision to people serving terms of supervised release after they complete a term of federal imprisonment.

“We all know that people, once sentenced, are separated from family and friends and denied many rights.  And we hope that they will view this experience in a positive way and change their lives afterwards.  Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail,” Durbin said.  “What have you taken from your experience in terms of recidivism and how to avoid it?” 

Judge Ramirez responded by saying, “The biggest lesson has been some of the obstacles people face when coming out of prison—housing, employment, support, substance abuse, mental health… the reentry program has provided a means to help people address these issues so that they can live law-abiding, healthy lives.  The program has taught me so much… more than anything about the power of redemption.” 

Durbin then asked Judge de Alba about the Worker’s Rights Clinic that she established while working in private practice.  During the five years that she was able to volunteer, the clinic helped more than 300 claimants understand their rights.

“There was a point in your life when you were in private practice and you established a Worker’s Rights Clinic.  Why did you do that and what was the result?” Durbin asked.

Judge de Alba noted that both of her parents were immigrants from Mexico and were field workers just to make ends meet.  One summer, her mother didn’t get paid and Judge de Alba and her brothers went without new school clothes.

“I recall, vividly recall, my mother crying in the bathroom.  She hid it from us, but I could hear her crying… it was that kind of experience that I had that led me to figure out a way just to give people information.  The clinic didn’t take cases, the clinic didn’t represent individuals.  It just gave them information to know what their legal rights were.  So it was a lived experience that helped me put this together.” 

Today’s hearing continues the Committee’s work filling judicial vacancies with highly qualified, diverse candidates who help ensure the fair and impartial administration of the American justice system.  Under the leadership of Chair Durbin, the Senate has confirmed 127 judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench during the Biden administration.

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here. 

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.

Biographies from the White House are below:

Judge Ana de Alba: Candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Judge Ana de Alba has served as a United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California since 2022. Previously, she served as a judge on the Superior Court of California in Fresno County from 2018 to 2022. Judge de Alba was a partner at Lang, Richert & Patch from 2013 to 2018. She was an associate at the firm from 2007 to 2013. Judge de Alba received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2007 and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002.

Judge Irma Carrillo Ramirez: Candidate for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 

Judge Irma Ramirez has served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Texas since 2002. Previously, Judge Ramirez served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas from 1995 to 2002. Prior to that, she was as an associate at Locke Purnell Rain Harrell, PC from 1991 to 1995. Judge Ramirez received her J.D. from the Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1991 and her B.A. from West Texas State University in 1986.