Addressing long-term vacancies in federal courthouses in Massachusetts, the White House is set to nominate three lawyers for judgeships, including the nomination of Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni to a US District Court post in Springfield.
The White House is also recommending attorney Indira Talwani to sit on the US District Court in Boston, and has tapped Harvard Law School professor David Jeremiah Barron for appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
The nominations, to be announced this afternoon, will be sent to the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
US Senator Elizabeth Warren, the state’s senior senator, who commissioned an advisory committee that recommended Talwani and Mastroianni, welcomed the nominations today.
“Both nominees … are talented and highly respected practitioners with diverse professional backgrounds, strong ties to the community, and impressive legal careers,” Warren said.
She also praised the nomination of Barron, saying he “is a highly respected law professor and former government official with a strong commitment to public service, and I have no doubt that he will make an excellent addition to the First Circuit.”
Barron would replace Appeals Court Judge Michael Boudin, who assumed senior, or semi-retired, status in June. Boudin, who had been on the court since 1992, briefly sitting as Chief Circuit Judge, authored the First Circuit’s historic decision that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2012. The US Supreme Court, in a separate case, later ruled the law unconstitutional.
In nominating Barron, President Barack Obama said in a statement that he “has displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession through his work. … He will be a diligent, judicious and esteemed addition to the First Circuit bench.”
Baron previously served for 18 months in the Obama administration as acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department. He also was a member of the Justice Department agency review team for the Obama-Biden transition team.
Mastroianni, a former assistant state prosecutor and private lawyer who became district attorney in 2011, was nominated to replace US District Court Judge Michael Ponsor, the Springfield federal judge who took senior status in August 2011.
Talwani, a private lawyer who focuses on civil litigation, was tapped to replace US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf, who took senior status in January.
“These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system,” Obama said. “I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity.”Milton J. Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.