US Senate confirms Jon Levy to be a federal judge in Maine

Judge Jon D. Levy of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court speaks in Portland on May 15, 2013.
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Judge Jon D. Levy of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court speaks in Portland on May 15, 2013. Buy Photo
Posted April 30, 2014, at 1:34 p.m.
Last modified April 30, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jon Levy.
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jon Levy. Buy Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jon Levy to be a federal judge in a 75-20 vote.

Levy is expected to begin his new job next month.

Shortly after the confirmation vote, he offered some advice for his yet-to-be-named replacement.

“Proceed with humility and always keep in mind the real-life consequences of the court’s decisions,” he said in an email response to questions.

Levy, 60, of Portland was nominated for the position by President Barack Obama in mid-September. As governor, Angus King nominated Levy to the Maine District Court in 1995 and then the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2002.

He was nominated to replace U.S. District Judge George Singal, 68, of Falmouth, who took senior status July 31 but continues to handle cases.

Levy said that he believes his nearly two decades on the bench will serve him well in the federal court system.

“My work as a federal judge will be informed by my 19 years of experience in seeking to administer the law in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the people of Maine,” he said.

The justice also said that he would miss his colleagues on Maine’s highest court.

“I have spent the last 12 years working with extraordinary people, all of whom share a deep commitment to public service and the rule of law,” Levy said.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King spoke in support of his confirmation Wednesday and urged their colleagues to vote for him.

“With today’s strong bipartisan vote, it’s clear the U.S. Senate shares my belief that Justice Levy’s sharp intellect, impartial judgment and extensive legal experience, both in private practice and as a state judge, make him extremely well-qualified to join the federal bench,” King said in a statement issued moments after the vote.

“Justice Levy also has been an advocate for advancing access to civil justice in Maine,” Collins said on the floor of the Senate. “He has championed initiatives to improve pro bono representation for Maine’s elderly and low-income people and affordable representation for other Mainers in need of legal assistance.”

U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree praised Levy’s confirmation in a joint statement.

“Jon Levy has served with distinction on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for more than a decade, and possesses an extensive legal background that perfectly suits him for this appointment,” they stated. “We have no doubt that he will continue that honorable track record through his service on the District Court, and congratulate him on this deserved achievement.”

Levy will be the only full-time District Court judge who came from the state bench. John Woodcock, nominated in 2003, was in private practice before his nomination by President George W. Bush. Nancy Torresen was a federal prosecutor before her nomination by Obama in 2011.

Judge D. Brock Hornby, who took senior status in 2010, was appointed to the federal bench in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush after two years on the state supreme court.

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