Officials seek to fill two openings on Federal Court

By Paul Janczewski

Legal News

Applications are being taken to fill two vacancies on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Recently, in a joint release to the media, Michigan Democratic Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow said an advisory committee will consider nominees and evaluate candidates for the open seats.

Interested persons should contact Senator Levin's Detroit office to obtain an application. He is located in Room 1860, McNamara Building, 477 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, 48226-2576, or by calling (313) 226-6020. All applications are due by Jan. 24, 2011.

The Advisory Committee will be chaired by Detroit attorney Eugene Driker, of the law firm of Barris, Sott, Denn and Driker.

Driker said this is actually a reconvening of the advisory committee he chaired several years ago to select candidates for U.S. Attorney, U.S. Marshal, and two federal district court judges. Driker said the application is eight or nine pages long and asks candidates about their academic background, law and federal court experiences, community involvement, legal organizations, pro bono work, ability to write clearly, and judicial temperament, among other matters.

The committee will establish procedures for the review and present Levin and Stabenow its assessment of the candidates' qualifications. Driker said the applications would be narrowed down to those selected for an interview. Driker said no time frame for filling the seats on the U.S. District Court bench has been established, but added this committee will follow a process that in the past "has produced high quality candidates."

Gerald E. Rosen, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District, said the vacancies were created when two judges on the bench recently took senior status - Arthur J. Tarnow and Bernard A. Friedman.

"Whenever a judge takes senior status, it creates a vacancy," said Rosen, chief judge since January 2009.

Both have claimed that designation in the last few years, he said. Friedman has been on senior status since 2008.

Earlier this month, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Allen withdrew his name from consideration for nomination on the federal bench after being recommended two years ago by Levin and Stabenow.

According to published media reports, Allen expressed his frustration in a letter to Levin and Stabenow with the two-year wait after being nominated by President Barack Obama, saying the system for nomination has been "broken."

Published: Mon, Dec 27, 2010