Durbin: White House Nominates Darrow to Fill Federal Judgeship in Central District

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that President Obama has nominated Sara Darrow to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court in the Central District of Illinois created by Judge Joe Billy McDade’s decision to take senior status.


“Sara Darrow is an outstanding candidate to serve as a federal judge in Peoria,” said Durbin. “Her dedication to public service and her experience as a state and federal prosecutor and in private practice will serve her well on the federal bench. We face a judicial emergency in the Central District with three out of four judgeships currently vacant, and I will work to see that all three judicial nominees are swiftly confirmed.”


Darrow has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois since 2003 and has prosecuted major federal crimes involving firearms, drugs, gangs, fraud, money laundering, bank robberies, and cybercrime. From 1999-2003, she worked in the Henry County State’s Attorney’s Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney and then as the First Assistant State’s Attorney. From 1997-1998, she worked in the Law Offices of Clarence Darrow in Rock Island. She is a graduate of Saint Louis University law school and Marquette University.


In April of last year, 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 chair of the Central District of Illinois screening committee.


Members of the screening committees held meetings, reviewed applications and references, and conducted interviews. The screening committees recommended the names of several individuals for each vacancy. Durbin reviewed the screening committees’ recommendations, conducted interviews of finalists, and submitted his recommendations to the President, who makes the final decisions on nominees. Once the President submits a judicial 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 receive a hearing and vote in the committee. If approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will then receive a vote by the full Senate.