September 19, 2013

Obama nominates Maine judge for federal bench

By Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A Portland man who sits on the state's highest court has been nominated by President Obama to become a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Maine.

click image to enlarge

Maine Supreme Court Justice Jon Levy

John Ewing / 2007 Staff File Photo

Jon David Levy, 59, an associate justice on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, was one of eight nominated nationally Thursday for district court appointments.

Those nominations must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

If Levy's nomination goes through, Gov. Paul LePage would nominate a candidate to fill the state supreme court vacancy. LePage's nominee would require approval by the state Senate.

"These men and women have had distinguished legal careers and I am honored to ask them to continue their work as judges on the federal bench," Obama said in a statement released Thursday night by the White House. "They will serve the American people with integrity and an unwavering commitment to justice."

Levy is one of seven justices on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The court's major role is to decide appeals on questions of law that arise in civil actions and criminal trials.

Earlier this year, Maine's congressional delegation recommended that Obama consider William D. Robitzek, a Lewiston attorney; and Jeffrey N. Young, a Topsham attorney, along with Levy.

The three were chosen from a field of 14 candidates interviewed by a judicial screening panel chaired by Portland attorney Peter DeTroy in February.

Levy, who was contacted at his Portland office, declined to comment on his nomination.

But members of Maine's congressional delegation said they believe Levy would be a terrific choice to serve as one of three U.S. District Court judges in Maine. The other two are John A. Woodcock, nominated by George W. Bush; and Nancy Torreson, an Obama nominee, according to the court's website.

Levy would replace George Z. Singal, who assumed senior status -- semi-retirement -- effective July 31. Singal was nominated by former President Clinton.

"Jon Levy is extremely well qualified to follow in the respected tradition of Judge George Singal, and we're hopeful the Senate will move forward with the confirmation process as soon as possible," U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree said in a joint statement.

"During his long and distinguished career as both an attorney and a judge, Jon has had a significant impact on the Maine judicial system by virtue of his intelligence and service to the court. His nomination deserves bipartisan support," U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King added in a joint statement.

Levy is a graduate of Syracuse University and the West Virginia University College of Law, where he was lead article editor of the Law Review, according to a profile posted on the court's website.

After law school, Levy served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. in the Southern District of West Virginia.

In 1981, Levy was appointed to serve as court monitor in the Texas prison conditions class action lawsuit.

Levy and his wife, Miriam, moved to Maine in 1982. Levy worked in a private law practice in York from 1983 to 1995. He served as president of the York County Bar Association from 1991-92.

While governor, King nominated Levy to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2002.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com

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