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  • WisBar News
    May 02, 2014

    Obama Nominates Judge Pepper for Wisconsin’s U.S. District Court Seat

    May 2, 2014 – President Barack Obama has nominated Judge Pamela Pepper to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the White House announced in a press release. Pepper is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    Currently, Judge Pepper, a 1989 graduate of Cornell Law School, is the chief judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, a position she has held since 2010. She has served as a bankruptcy court judge since 2005.

    Judge Pepper was one of three candidates chosen by Wisconsin’s bipartisan Federal Nominating Commission established in 1979 to make recommendations to U.S. senators for vacancies in federal judgeships and U.S. attorney positions. The State Bar of Wisconsin provides administrative support to the commission.

    Judge Pepper must now be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate after a hearing before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. President Obama noted Pepper’s experience.

    “I am proud to nominate Judge Pepper to serve on the United States District Court bench,” President Obama said. “Judge Pepper has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve on the federal district court with distinction.”

    Attorneys Michelle Behnke, Madison, and Paul Swanson, Oshkosh, co-chaired the commission for the Eastern District vacancy. William T. Curran, Richard Esenberg, Frederic Fleishauer, and Barbara Zack Quindel also served on the commission.

    U.S. Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin established the commission in 2013 after U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert Jr. announced his intent to take senior status.

    The commission nominated Judge Pepper, along with attorney Beth Kushner of von Briesen & Roper S.C., and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge William Pocan. Senators Baldwin and Johnson recommended all three as potential appointees.

    Judge Pepper clerked for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals after law school and was a federal prosecutor in Milwaukee and Chicago from 1990 to 1997. She was also a solo criminal defense practitioner for eight years before her appointment to the bench. In 2004, she served as chair of the State Bar’s 52-member Board of Governors.

    Peterson’s Appointment Still Pending

    In November 2013, President Obama nominated Madison attorney James D. Peterson to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

    Peterson sat for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing in January 2014, and his nomination still needs final approval from the full U.S. Senate.

    Peterson, who served on the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Communications Committee from 2000 to 2008 (chair, 2003-2005), is a 1998 graduate of U.W. Law School and a shareholder in the litigation and intellectual practice groups at Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.

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