The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Regina M. Rodriguez on a bipartisan vote to serve as a U.S. district court judge in Colorado, making the trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor the first Asian-American judge to sit on the state's federal bench.
"She has blazed trails in Colorado and in Colorado law through the sheer force of her intellect, hard work and character," U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet told the Senate before the first of two 72-28 votes to advance and then approve her nomination.
"Regina and her family are what we mean when we come to this floor and talk about the American dream."
The Democratic-led Senate is confirming President Biden’s outstanding and diverse judicial nominees. Today, @SenatorBennet laid out why he’s proud to support Regina Rodriguez to be US District Judge for Colorado. pic.twitter.com/8AOSz2729Z— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) June 8, 2021
A Gunnison native, Rodriguez is the daughter of a Mexican-American father and a Japanese-American mother whose family was relocated to an internment camp in Wyoming during World War II. She headed the U.S. attorney for Colorado's civil rights division during her tenure working for the U.S. Justice Department and represented corporate clients in private practice, most recently for global firm Wilmer Hale.
In addition to Rodriguez, the full Senate approved Julien Xavier Neals to be a district court judge in New Jersey on Tuesday, marking the first of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees to pass through the confirmation process.
Rodriguez was recommended to the bench by Bennet and fellow Democratic senator John Hickenlooper. She fills a seat on the seven-member court left open by Senior Judge Marcia S. Krieger's decision two years ago to step down from active status.
In a statement, Biden thanked the Senate for confirming Rodriguez and Neals with bipartisan support and said his administration is on track to have more federal judges confirmed by July than in any other president's first year in office in more than 50 years.
"I was honored to include both of them in the very first nominations I made to the Federal Bench, and they embody the professional excellence and devotion to the rule of law and our Constitution that the American people expect of Federal judges," Biden said.
"They are both highly qualified, and they represent the diversity that is one of the ultimate strengths of our nation—in all branches of government, including the judiciary."
Rodriguez was nominated for a vacancy on the same court in 2016 by former President Barack Obama with the support of Bennet and then-U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, but the GOP-controlled Senate didn't take up her nomination.