Udall, Bennet Recommend Names for Federal Judicial Vacancies in Colorado

Candidates Selected with Assistance and Recommendations from Bipartisan Advisory Panel

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet announced they have forwarded the names of six Coloradans to President Obama to fill two federal District Court vacancies created by Judge Lewis Babcock's decision to assume Senior Judge status, and the more recent resignation of Judge Edward Nottingham. The Senators' letter to President Obama and the list of candidates is below.

The Senators made their decision jointly, and after three days of interviews with prospective nominees. They relied heavily on the advice of a diverse, bipartisan advisory panel made up primarily of lawyers with federal court experience and co-chaired by former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Kourlis, and Hal Haddon, a prominent Colorado lawyer. The Senators' selection system followed a model endorsed by the American Bar Association and embraced increasingly by Senators from other states around the country. As requested by President Obama, they submitted three names for each vacancy.

"I am proud to forward the names of these six extremely well-qualified Coloradans to serve on the U.S. District Court. Each of these individuals would serve with honor on the bench," Senator Udall said. "Federal judges are appointed for life. For that reason, this was an extremely rigorous selection process. And I want to thank our bipartisan advisory panel for their hard work and assistance."

"I want to thank Senator Udall for his leadership in this judicial selection process and the judicial advisory panel for their expert work and advice," Senator Bennet said. "The panel conducted a thorough evaluation of these outstanding candidates. Each of these individuals is well-qualified and would serve with distinction on the District Court."

The Senators' letter to President Obama follows:

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington. D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We appreciate this opportunity to send you the names of six distinguished Coloradans for your favorable consideration to fill two Article III judicial vacancies in the U.S. District Court for Colorado.

Over the last few months, we have listened to, and met with, a number of very qualified and experienced Coloradans in an effort to send you a group of exceptional people who are not only well-qualified to serve as federal trial court judges, but who also have the qualities of intellectual depth, judicial temperament and life experience to make significant contributions to the administration of justice in our federal court. In making the following recommendations, we have not only relied on our own impressions of the applicants, we also relied upon the considered advice and judgment of a diverse, bipartisan advisory panel we convened for this purpose in April.

We also met jointly with the individuals we have recommended and are confident that each of them is superbly qualified to serve with honor and distinction on the federal bench.

For the vacancies created by Judge Lewis Babcock's decision to assume Senior Judge status and Judge Edward Nottingham's resignation, we recommend:

Christina Habas - Judge, 2nd Judicial District, State of Colorado; former partner, Bruno, Bruno & Colin, P.C., Denver; former partner and associate, Watson, Nathan & Bremer, P.C., Denver.

Morris Ben Hoffman - Judge, 2nd Judicial District, State of Colorado; former partner, Mosley, Wells, Johnson & Ruttum, P.C., Denver.

Richard Brooke Jackson - Chief Judge, 1st Judicial District, State of Colorado; former partner, Holland & Hart LLC, Denver.

William Martinez - Partner at McNamara, Roseman, Martinez & Kazmierski, LLP, Denver; former Regional Attorney, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Denver District Office.

Lael Montgomery - Judge, 20th Judicial District, State of Colorado; former County Judge, Boulder County, Colorado; former Deputy District Attorney, 20th Judicial District.

John F. Walsh - Partner at Hill & Robbins, P.C. in Denver; former partner in the Denver office of Holland & Hart, LLP; former Assistant United States Attorney, Central District of California, Los Angeles.

We had the opportunity to meet a number of remarkable and dedicated individuals during the review process for these two vacancies. While there were many talented people to recommend, we believe these names will give you a professionally diverse and well-qualified set of potential nominees to choose from.

With warm regards and respectfully submitted,

Mark E. Udall Michael F. Bennet
U.S. Senator U.S. Senator

cc: Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
Senator Orin Hatch, Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
White House Counsel Greg Craig