June 22, 2018
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Panel formed to seek candidate for federal judgeship in Maine

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

WASHINGTON — The Democratic and independent members of Maine’s congressional delegation Tuesday announced the formation of a judicial screening panel to assess candidates for a federal judgeship in Portland.

Sen. Angus King and Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree said in a press release that the panel is made up of attorneys from around the state, a law school professor and a retired state judge. The group will recommend a replacement for U.S. District Judge George Z. Singal, 66, of Portland.

Singal, who has been on the federal bench since July 2000, announced last year that he would take senior status in July 2013. The former Bangor attorney will not retire but will handle fewer cases.

“We’re honored that such an experienced and diverse group of Mainers has agreed to serve on this screening panel,” the delegation members said in the press release. “We’d like to thank them for their service, and we’re confident they’ll be instrumental in helping us make a highly qualified recommendation to President Obama.”

The screening panel will be chaired by Peter J. DeTroy of Portland. The 11 other members of the panel are:

• Michael T. Bigos of Lewiston.

• Joseph Baiungo of Belfast.

• James Case of Topsham.

• Jack Comart of Augusta.

• Phyllis Gardiner of Augusta.

• Bruce Gerrity of Augusta.

• James “Red” MacMichael of Skowhegan.

• Thimi Mina of Portland.

• Patricia Peard of Portland.

• Dawn Pelletier of Bangor.

• Deirdre M. Smith of Portland.

The screening panel will make recommendations to the delegation, which in turn will send the names of one attorney or more to the White House. Obama, then, would nominate an individual who would have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

There is no timeline under which the president or the Senate must act.

Last summer, the search for a replacement was put off until after the November election, according to a previous report.

The deadline for candidates to submit application materials for consideration by the screening panel is 5 p.m Feb. 22. All interested candidates should submit a cover letter highlighting qualifications, a resume, and three letters of recommendation to judicial@mail.house.gov.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Maine's Democratic congressional delegation is forming the panel. The panel includes Sen. Angus King, who is an independent.

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