Michele Ruiz '94 and Diana White '81 Named to Screening Committee for Federal Judges in the Northern District

From Senator Durbin's press release:

August 13 - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today announced the formation of a bipartisan screening committee to assist in selecting Federal District Court Judges for the Northern District of Illinois.  There are currently three vacant judgeships in the Northern District, and the immediate task of the screening committee is to review applications and make recommendations to Durbin for filling current and future vacancies.

The screening committee will be comprised of 13 distinguished Illinoisans drawn from various aspects of the legal profession including former judges, prominent litigators, bar association leaders, and former prosecutors and defenders.  The committee will be co-chaired by former Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine and Patricia Holmes, a partner at Schiff Hardin and former state trial judge and Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  (A complete list and short bios of all panel members is included below.)

“Making recommendations to the White House on judicial nominees is one of the most important jobs I have as a U.S. Senator, and I am particularly pleased that these outstanding Illinoisans have agreed to advise me in selecting the best possible candidates to recommend to President Obama,” said Durbin...

The screening committee will review the applications, interview applicants and references, and make recommendations to Senator Durbin.  The screening committee will recommend the names of several individuals to Senator Durbin for each vacancy.

Durbin will review the screening committee’s recommendations, conduct interviews of finalists, and – in consultation with Senator Kirk – submit his recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on nominees.

Once the President submits a nomination to the U.S. Senate, the nominee will be reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Senator Durbin is a member, and will ultimately receive a vote in the committee.  If a nomination is approved by the Judiciary Committee, the nominee will receive a vote by the full Senate.

This process is separate from, and in addition to, the screening process for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois...

Michele Ruiz.  Ms. Ruiz is a partner at the international law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, where she serves as a global coordinator of Sidley’s OTC derivatives practice.  Michele has been the recipient of awards which reflect both her professional and community commitment, including listings in Best Lawyers in America for the past seven years in the field of Hedge Funds, the Rising Stars Award from the Anti-Defamation League (2010), Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s list of 40 Illinois Lawyers Under 40 to Watch (2008) and BTI Consulting Group’s Law Firm Client Service U.S. All-Star Team (2001).  She is also a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow.

Diana White.  Ms. White is the executive director of the LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation), the largest provider of free legal services in civil cases in the metropolitan Chicago area.  LAF’s full-time staff of more than 80 attorneys and paralegals provides legal help that gets people living in poverty back on their feet and strengthens communities throughout Cook County.  Previously Ms. White was a partner at Jenner & Block and a law clerk to Judge Walter Cummings on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.