Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper wrote to President Joe Biden to recommend three candidates for Colorado’s U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado vacancy.
In a letter to President Biden, Bennet and Hickenlooper have recommended Kenzo Kawanabe, Charlotte Sweeney, and Nina Wang to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The Biden Administration will review the candidates and decide which to nominate. The Senate will need to confirm the final nominee.
“All three candidates have the temperament, character, and integrity to serve the people of Colorado with honor and distinction,” wrote Bennet and Hickenlooper.
In March, Bennet and Hickenlooper announced the formation of an advisory committee that implemented an open application process to recommend highly qualified candidates for current and future vacancies on the U.S. District Court in Colorado. The committee worked to identify candidates to fill the upcoming District Court vacancy following Judge R. Brooke Jackson’s announcement that he will be taking senior status effective September 30, 2021.
More information about each candidate can be found in the senators’ letter to President Biden, available HERE and below.
Dear President Biden:
We write to recommend the following three candidates to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. All three candidates have the temperament, character, and integrity to serve the people of Colorado with honor and distinction.
Mr. Kawanabe is a partner in the Denver law firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs where he focuses on litigation and intellectual property law. He has also served as Pro Bono Partner and represented underfunded school districts and families in a Constitutional education finance case and refugees from Africa. Mr. Kawanabe’s extensive contributions to the community include serving as a board advisor or board member of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Colorado Legal Services, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. He was the first-ever General Counsel of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Mr. Kawanabe clerked for former Chief Justice Mary J. Mullarkey of the Colorado Supreme Court and is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He obtained his BA from the University of Colorado and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Kawanabe is a fourth generation Coloradan who grew up in the San Luis Valley, and his grandparents endured after being sent to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.
Ms. Sweeney currently serves as a partner in the law firm of Sweeney & Bechtold, where she represents both public and private sector employees in discrimination, civil rights, and wrongful discharge cases. She also lectures regularly on employment law and employment litigation. Ms. Sweeney assisted in drafting the 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act in Colorado. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Matthew Shepard Foundation since 2016, and is a member of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association. She previously chaired the Labor and Employment Section of the Colorado Bar Association and served as President of the Plaintiff Employment Lawyers Association. Notable accolades for her career include Colorado Super Lawyers repeatedly naming her one of the top 50 women attorneys in the state, and 5280 Magazine naming her one of the top lawyers in Colorado since 2014. Ms. Sweeney obtained her BS from California Lutheran University and her JD from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.
Since 2015, Judge Wang has served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. In that capacity, she has presided over civil trials, criminal felony matters, and criminal misdemeanor trials. In addition, she has managed the pretrial process including discovery, and motions practice for Article III judges. Previously, Judge Wang worked in private practice where she specialized in intellectual property law. She also served in the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado. Earlier in her career, Judge Wang clerked for the Honorable Peter Messitte on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. She has taught patent litigation and trial advocacy at the University of Colorado School of Law. She cofounded the Colorado Pro Bono Patent Initiative, previously served as President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, and is the 2015 recipient of the Minoru Yasui Community Service Award. After immigrating from Taiwan as a young child, Judge Wang obtained her A.B. from Washington University and her JD from Harvard Law School.
We are pleased to recommend these outstanding candidates to serve on the U.S. District Court. As the process moves forward, please do not hesitate to follow up with us if you have any questions.