Thursday, December 5, 2013
President Obama on Wednesday nominated Maine Superior Court Justice Thomas Delahanty II to be the U.S. attorney for Maine.
Delahanty, 64, a Lewiston native and Falmouth resident, would replace Paula Silsby, who has held the office since 2001. He must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
"I was hoping it would happen; I found out late this afternoon the nomination would be made," said Delahanty, reached Wednesday while vacationing in the Caribbean. "I'm very appreciative of the confidence they have in me – I'm looking forward to it."
Delahanty has been U.S. attorney for Maine before. President Jimmy Carter appointed him in May 1980 to succeed George Mitchell, who had been appointed a federal judge. Delahanty left the office in August 1981 after President Ronald Reagan was elected.
Delahanty has been a justice for the Maine Superior Court since 1983 – he served as chief justice from 1990 until 1995. He currently presides in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn.
From 1981 until 1983, he was a partner in the firm Delahanty & Longley. From 1975 until 1980, he worked as a district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties. Before that, he worked in the Androscoggin County Attorney's Office from 1971 until 1975. From 1970 until 1974, he was an associate at Marshall, Raymond & Beliveau.
He noted that he has spent time as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judge.
"I hope I can see both sides of an issue and be able to assess the full aspect of a case" as a U.S. attorney, Delahanty said.
Delahanty graduated from St. Michael's College in 1967 and from the University of Maine School of Law in 1970.
He's been married for 39 years, has two grown sons and a granddaughter.
The U.S. attorney's job pays an annual salary of $153,200, according to the U.S Department of Justice. Appointees serve four-year terms and remain in office until a successor is named.
The process that led to Delahanty's nomination to the political appointment began a year ago. Maine's two Democratic U.S. Reps., Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, named an advisory panel to review candidates for the position. The five-person panel reviewed candidates to replace Silsby, a Republican. Michaud and Pingree recommended several candidates to Obama.
Silsby, the present U.S. attorney for Maine, is a lifelong federal prosecutor.
She became an assistant U.S. attorney in 1977 and was recommended for the top job in Maine by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe in 2001.
Bush never nominated Silsby, however, and she was eventually appointed by a U.S. District Court judge – one of only three U.S. attorneys to hold office through judicial appointment.
Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at: