WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote Thursday recommended Nancy Torresen, 51, of Bangor be confirmed by the full Senate for a federal judgeship.
If confirmed, she would be the first female U.S. District judge in Maine.
It was not known Thursday when the full Senate would hold a confirmation vote.
A federal prosecutor, Torresen declined to comment on the committee’s decision.
Torresen’s name was sent to the White House by U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Maine Democrats, late last year. In March, President Barack Obama nominated her to replace U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby in Portland. He assumed senior status a year ago but plans to maintain a full caseload.
“It’s great news that she’s been reported out of committee, and we hope that her nomination is considered by the full Senate soon,” Michaud and Pingree said in a joint statement issued Thursday. “Nancy’s years of experience and diverse legal background would be a tremendous addition to the federal bench.”
Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine both recommended Torresen be approved by the Judiciary Committee when the nominee appeared before its members in April.
“Nancy Torresen is well-respected in the legal community,” Collins said in statement issued Thursday. “Her work as a prosecutor in both the federal and state judicial systems, her integrity, her temperament, and her respect for precedent make her well-qualified to serve as Maine’s next federal judge.”
Torresen, who is an assistant U.S. attorney, appeared before the committee in April but it adjourned without voting.
If confirmed, Torresen would be appointed for life. The salary of a U.S. District Court judge in 2011 is $174,000 per year, according to information on the website for the federal court system.
Torresen first joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990, where she initially handled civil matters involving federal agencies. In 1994, Torresen was designated to the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, where she primarily was responsible for representing the state in appeals of serious violent crime convictions.
In 2001, she returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and has been responsible for investigating and prosecuting federal crimes.
From 1988 to 1990, Torresen worked at the law firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C. She served as a law clerk to former U.S. District Judge Conrad K. Cyr from 1987 to 1988.
Torresen received her law degree in 1987 from the University of Michigan Law School and her undergraduate degree in 1981 from Hope College in Holland, Mich.