THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT NAMES TEN FEDERAL JUDGES
President Clinton today nominated ten individuals to serve on the federal bench, four for the U.S. Courts of Appeals and six for the U.S. District Courts, representing the states of California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina.
Diana Motz of Maryland was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the President named three individuals to the Fifth Circuit: Fortunato "Pete" Benavides and Robert M. Parker of Texas, and Carl E. Stewart of Louisiana.
President Clinton also named six U.S. District Court judges: Audrey B. Collins, Central District of California; Ruben Castillo, Northern District of Illinois; Deborah A. Batts, Southern District of New York; James G. Carr, Northern District of Ohio; Mary M. Lisi, District of Rhode Island; and Cameron M. Currie, District of South Carolina.
"These ten individuals have records of distinction and achievement in public service and the legal profession," the President said today. "I am confident that they will continue to distinguish themselves, as members of the federal judiciary."
With these candidates, the President has nominated 58 federal judges, a record for this stage in a contemporary administration. By contrast, George Bush had nominated just 35 judges by this point in his Presidency.
Several of the nominations are historic in their own right. Stewart will be the first African-American ever appointed to the Court of Appeals serving Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Castillo will be the first Hispanic federal judge in Illinois, while Lisi and Currie will be the first women to serve on the federal trial benches in their states.
Biographies of the four appellate court nominees are attached. The District Court nominees are as follows:
Audrey B. Collins, 48, has been Chief Assistant District Attorney of Los Angeles County since 1992; she has been a prosecutor in the office for fourteen years. She has also worked at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Collins earned a B.A. at Howard University, an M.A. at American University and a J.D. at U.C.L.A. Law School, with honors. With husband Timothy, she has two children.
Ruben Castillo, 39, is a partner in the firm of Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago, where he has practiced since 1991. Previously, he served as Director and Regional Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (1988-91) and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney (1984-88). He received his B.A. from Loyola University and his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Castillo and his wife Sylvia have two children.
Deborah A. Batts, 48, has been an Associate Professor at Fordham University School of Law since 1984. Her previous experience includes six years in private practice at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, five years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a clerkship in the U.S. District Court. Batts graduated from Radcliffe College and Harvard Law School; she has two children.
James G. Carr, 52, has been the U.S. Magistrate Judge in Toledo since 1979. Carr taught at Toledo Law School and was a County Prosecutor before coming to the bench. Carr is a graduate of Kenyon College and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Eileen M. Glynn Carr, have four children.
Mary M. Lisi, 42, has been the Chief Disciplinary Counsel to the Rhode Island Supreme Court since 1990; she was the Deputy Disciplinary Counsel for three years previously. From 1982 to 1987, she directed the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program in Rhode Island, supervising attorneys who appeared in the Rhode Island Family Court on behalf of children. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island and Temple Law School, Lisi has also spent two years in private practice and three years as a public defender. She is married to Stephen J. Reid, Jr..
Cameron M. Currie, 45, is the Chief Deputy Attorney General and Director of the State Grand Jury Division for the State of South Carolina. She has also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia and in South Carolina, and she spent two years as a U.S. Magistrate in South Carolina. Currie received her B.A. from the University of South Carolina and her J.D. from George Washington University. She has three children.
DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ
Nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Diana Jane Gribbon Motz of Baltimore, an Associate Judge on Maryland's Special Court of Appeals since 1991, is a former state prosecutor who has worked on several high-profile cases. Motz, who served on a blue ribbon panel that reviewed the nation's federal courts, has been praised as an honest and dedicated jurist. She also is heavily involved in community service in the Baltimore area.
Motz was born in Washington, D.C. in 1943 and graduated from Vassar College in 1965. When she entered the University of Virginia's law school in the fall of 1965, she was one of only two women in a class of 250.
Following her graduation from law school in 1968, Motz was hired by Piper & Marbury and became the first woman associate hired by any large Baltimore law firm. At the time, she often was the only female attorney in the courtroom. In 1972, Motz was appointed as an Assistant Attorney General of Maryland. For most of the next eight years, she worked part-time and raised two small children.
Perhaps her most celebrated case was one against former Vice President Spiro Agnew. Representing the state, Motz argued that Agnew should repay hundreds of thousands of dollars he allegedly took in bribes while governor of Maryland. Motz told a state appellate court: "You should send a message to public officials and ordinary citizens everywhere that public officials are not only elected by the people but ... are answerable to the people." The judges agreed, and Agnew was forced to pay.
In 1982, Motz was named Chief of Litigation in the Maryland Attorney General's office. In this role, she represented the state in appeals before the Fourth Circuit, and even argued a case in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also represented the state against the Burning Tree Club in a petition that sought to challenge the constitutionality of a Maryland statute that conferred preferential property tax treatment on country clubs, including male-only clubs. She left the Attorney General's office in 1986 and joined the Baltimore firm of Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman as a partner.
In 1988, Chief Justice William Rehnquist appointed Motz to a 15-member committee created by Congress to review the entire federal court system. Motz's appointment to the Federal Courts Study Committee is a testament to the widespread respect for her among the bench and bar.
In 1991, Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer appointed Motz to a post on the state's Court of Special Appeals. The Court is the state's intermediate appellate tribunal.
In the Baltimore area, Motz has been active in community and church affairs. She is a member of the boards of Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Young Victorian Theatre and the Baltimore City Bar Library. She also is on a state task force examining the feasibility of closing Maryland's mental institutions.
Motz is married to John Frederick Motz of Baltimore, who currently serves as a Judge on the U.S. District Court. The couple has two children, a high school junior and a sixth grade school teacher in the New York City public school system.
If confirmed, Motz would become one of fifteen judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which hears cases from West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland.
FORTUNATO P. BENAVIDES
Nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Fortunato "Pete" Benavides, who has served on the bench in every level of the court system in Texas, is currently an attorney in private practice in McAllen, Texas. His confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals would follow a distinguished judicial career, during which he has authored more than 500 judicial opinions in both criminal and civil cases. Benavides, 46, also has demonstrated a substantial commitment to the community outside the courtroom -- highlighted by his establishment of a center for troubled teens.
Benavides was born in Mission, Texas in 1947 and graduated from McAllen High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Houston in 1968, and graduated from Bates College of Law at the University of Houston in 1972. After five years in private practice, Benavides was appointed, and subsequently elected, to a judgeship in Hidalgo County, Texas.
Benavides spent the next fifteen years working his way up the Texas judicial system. He served on the 92nd Judicial District Court of Hidalgo County from 1981 to 1984, and then the Thirteenth Court of Appeals for nearly eight years. From 1983 to 1989, he also was a member of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission. In 1991, Texas Governor Ann Richards appointed Benavides to a twoyear term on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the court of last resort for all state criminal cases. Last year, Benavides served as visiting judge on the state's Supreme Court. While he has written over 200 criminal opinions, Benavides has only been reversed once in Texas.
Benavides, who has been praised by both prosecutors and defense attorneys for his work in Texas, is often applauded for his compassion and fair-mindedness. A senior official of the Hispanic National Bar Association said recently of Benavides, "You will never find a person with a bigger heart."
Benavides has poured much of his heart into many projects outside the courtroom, most notably the Ramiro H. Guerra Youth Village, a residential facility in Weslaco with 52 beds for male juvenile offenders. While serving as a county judge in the late 1970s, Benavides secured the funding and facilities needed from the commissioner's court, the city and the state to establish the program. The center helps counsel teens who have committed minor offenses, and tries to mend the often strained relations that exist between troubled children and their parents.
It was this work at the Guerra Youth Village that first drew President Clinton's attention to Benavides. Then-Governor Clinton met Benavides during the presidential campaign and was so moved by Benavides' civic contribution that he named him one of 53 "Faces of Hope" honored at the Presidential Inauguration celebration last year.
Benavides lives in Austin, Texas with his wife of twelve years, Augusta Camille Zapffe Benavides. They have two daughters.
If confirmed, Benavides would be one of seventeen judges on the Fifth Circuit of Appeals, which hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. He would be just the third Hispanic ever to serve on this court -- and it would mark the first time that two Hispanics served simultaneously on this court.
ROBERT M. PARKER
Nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Robert Manley Parker was appointed to the federal bench in 1979, when President Carter named him to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Parker, 56, has been chief judge of the district since 1990.
Throughout his career, Parker has demonstrated a keen respect for and dedication to both the law and his local community. During 1979 confirmation hearings for Parker's appointment to the district bench, then-U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen described Parker as a "first-rate trial attorney, active in community and professional affairs."
Parker's family roots run deep in Texas, dating to the state's Civil War days. Judge Parker was born in Longview, Texas in 1937, and was raised in Hallsville.
A civic leader since his teens, Parker was elected president of Hallsville High School. He attended Kilgore Junior College before he won appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. In 1958, he returned to Texas and married the former Frieda Helen White of Marshall. He returned to school part-time, taking classes at East Texas Baptist College and Abilene Christian College.
Parker earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas in Austin. He was a contributing editor to the Law Forum and a member of Phi Alpha Delta, and graduated from law school in 1964.
A self-described "country-lawyer," Parker practiced in a wide variety of areas in rural East Texas following law school. Later, Parker moved to Washington to serve briefly as administrative assistant to U.S. Congressman Ray Roberts. From late 1966 until 1971, he was a partner in the Longview firm of Smead, Roberts, Harbour, Smith, Harris, French & Parker. From 1972 to 1979, when was named to the federal court, Parker was a partner in the firm of Nichols & Parker.
Parker has been published in several legal journals, writing about such subjects as constitutional law, streamlining complex cases, and civil dispute resolution. He is recognized by his peers on the federal bench as one of the leaders in the field of civil justice reform.
Throughout his life Parker has been involved in East Texas community activities, serving groups that range from the Chamber of Commerce to youth baseball. He is a former president of both the Longview Exchange Club and the Texas-Exes Association of Gregg County. Parker also assisted in the organization of a local minority-owned and operated newspaper that serves the region's African-American community. In addition, Parker was active in local Democratic Party activities.
Parker and his wife also operate a small farm devoted to commercial timber production. They have two adult daughters who both live in Texas: an attorney and a professional chef who runs her own catering business.
If confirmed, Parker will become one of seventeen judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which sits in New Orleans and hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
CARL E. STEWART
Nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Carl Stewart, who sits on Louisiana's Second Court of Appeal, has served as an accomplished judge, attorney, prosecutor and professor. His vast trial experience includes work in civil rights, loan sharking, election fraud, embezzlement and school desegregation. Stewart, who has been honored by many groups for his outstanding commitment to community service, would become the first African-American ever to serve on the Fifth Circuit as it is currently constituted.
Stewart was born to Corine and Richard Stewart, a postal worker, in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1950. As a teenager in the 1960's, Stewart witnessed the civil rights struggle of the era, and saw how the legal system could be used to bring about positive social change. Stewart was inspired by what he saw and decided to dedicate his life to helping people through the legal system. He graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans cum laude in 1971 and earned his law degree from Loyola University in 1974.
Later that year, Stewart entered the U.S. Army in the Judge Advocate General's Corps. As a captain, he served as a defense attorney for soldiers at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. After an honorable discharge, Stewart worked as an associate in a small private law firm. He joined a field office of the Louisiana Attorney General in 1978.
In 1979, Stewart became an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and worked on a wide variety of cases. He prosecuted a loan shark who preyed on the poor, a sheriff who paid for votes during a reelection bid, and an unscrupulous land owner who filed false flood relief claims with the federal government. Stewart received a letter of commendation from the Justice Department for his work on a civil rights case in 1982 and 1983.
Stewart left the Justice Department in 1983 to go into private practice in Shreveport, and work as an Adjunct Professor at Louisiana State University. In 1985, he won election to a sixyear term as a District Judge in Louisiana. At the conclusion of the term, Stewart was elected to his present position on the state's Second Circuit Court of Appeal.
In 1989, Stewart was praised for his judicial performance. The Shreveport Journal, which sponsored the survey of judges, declared that Stewart had "nearly swe[pt] the ratings." One local attorney described Stewart as "a splendid judge, excellent in every respect." Other attorneys lauded his "fine judicial manner," his fairness and concern for "judicial economy." Stewart, one attorney said, "is careful to treat all parties with the same attitude and concern."
Throughout his career, Stewart has been active in a wide array of professional and community organizations. He has been honored with awards from the Boy Scouts of America and the Carver Branch YMCA. Stewart also was named Louisiana Outstanding Young Man of the Year by the Louisiana Chapter of the Jaycees and won the Black Leader of the Year award from the Southern University Shreveport-Bossier Afro-American Society.
Stewart frequently addresses student and professional groups, emphasizing the importance of educational achievement and community service, and the need for African-American role models in business and public service. Stewart is also a lay leader of the Louisiana United Methodist Conference.
Stewart has been married for 21 years to Jo Ann Southall Stewart, a registered nurse who works with school children who have substance abuse problems. They have three children. Stewart's two brothers also are distinguished attorneys: Captain Richard G. Stewart, Jr., is a Force Judge Advocate in the U.S. Navy, and Judge James E. Stewart, Sr., serves on Louisiana's District Court.
If confirmed, Stewart would become one of seventeen judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which reviews appeals from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
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