March 3, 2011

Assistant U.S. attorney chosen as next federal judge for Maine

Nancy Torresen will likely be confirmed ‘pretty easily’ by the Senate, an expert in the selection process says.

By Jonathan Riskind
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON — Nancy Torresen has been nominated to the federal bench for the Maine district, the White House announced Wednesday.

Torresen is currently assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Maine. She was one of three people -- the others are from Louisiana and the Virgin Islands -- named as federal District Court nominees Wednesday by the White House.

President Obama said in a statement that Torresen and the other nominees "all have long and distinguished records of service, and I am confident they will serve on the federal bench with distinction."

The U.S. District Court in Maine has three judges. Judge Brock Hornby, who was nominated in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, went on senior semi-retired status last year, and Torresen is being nominated to his seat.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia and an expert on the federal judicial selection process, said he does not expect Torresen's nomination to attract much opposition in the Senate, given that she is an assistant U.S. attorney.

"That is a fairly standard track, and usually a non-controversial track, to the bench," Tobias said. "I think it will go pretty easily. She has the experience of being an assistant U.S. attorney, and she understands the criminal and the civil side as to what she would do as a federal judge."

Tobias said he expects a Senate confirmation hearing on Torresen's nomination within several months, followed by a Senate Judiciary Committee vote and a confirmation vote by the full Senate.

Torresen joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1990, where she handled civil matters, the White House said. In 1994, she went to the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division of the Maine Department of the Attorney General. In 2001, she returned to the U.S. Attorney's Office, where she has since investigated and prosecuted federal crimes in the northern half of the Maine district, according to a White House statement. 

Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:


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