Press Releases

BIRMINGHAM,  AL – To encourage input from the community, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL)  set up a Judicial Screening Committee for Federal District Judgeships in the State of Alabama to assist her with assessing candidates for recommendations that will be made to the President to fill vacant federal judgeship positions in Alabama.  Seventeen candidates applied for the vacancy in the Northern District of Alabama created by the taking of senior status of Judge Lynwood Smith.   The distinguished legal scholars, jurists and practitioners from Alabama who made up the committee interviewed all 17 candidates and reviewed more than 3000 pages of application materials. The role of the Screening Committee was to assess the qualifications and abilities of each applicant. The Committee was asked to assess capabilities and report to the Congresswoman whether a candidate was qualified or unqualified to serve as a federal judge.  The Congresswoman will use the Screening Committee’s findings to make recommendations to the President.  Nominations for federal judgeships are made solely by the President of the United States and all nominees must be confirmed by the United States Senate.

"I want to thank the seven members of the Judicial Screening Committee for their commitment of time and expertise to this judicial process.  I believe it is critically important that this process is open so that all who want to be considered for a judicial appointment can apply.  To have the input of the community at large as well as the Alabama legal community, practitioners and jurists has made this process invaluable,” said Rep. Sewell. 

 “The Screening Committee was tasked to assess each candidate’s legal qualifications and ability to serve as a federal judge. In assessing the qualifications, the Committee considered the following:  judicial temperament, character and integrity, legal experience especially federal practice, and a candidate’s commitment to equal justice.  The Committee was impressed with the overall pool of candidates for the Northern District of Alabama and concluded that the majority of the candidates were well qualified to serve as a federal judge. I will consider the Committee's input for each candidate in making recommendations to the President for nomination. I remain committed to recommending well qualified candidates with a particular focus on diversity of the Alabama federal bench. Ultimately, it is the President’s decision and all nominees must be confirmed by the Senate. I am grateful to the Committee for their assistance with my part of this process. I look forward to working with the White House, Senators Shelby and Sessions to ensure the nomination of a well qualified candidate.”


Contact: Hillary Beard                   202.225.2665