April 27, 2022

Reed & Whitehouse Applaud President’s Nomination of Lara Montecalvo to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

PROVIDENCE, RI – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today applauded President Biden for nominating Lara E. Montecalvo, who currently leads the office of the Rhode Island Public Defender, to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The announcement comes after Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse undertook an open and in-depth selection process that included extensive interviews and careful deliberation before they jointly made their recommendations to the President.

The First Circuit, based in Boston, hears appeals of federal cases from Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico. The First Circuit is one of 13 appellate courts that sit just one rung below the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Lara Montecalvo is an exceptional public servant with sterling legal credentials and a profound respect for the rule of law. She has practiced law in every court in Rhode Island and earned high marks from her peers across the legal spectrum. She is highly qualified for this important position and will bring a unique perspective and diversity of experience to the First Circuit. We urge the Senate to consider and confirm her nomination in a swift and timely manner,” said Reed and Whitehouse in a joint statement.

Montecalvo’s extensive litigation and appellate experience handling both criminal and civil cases in state and federal courts make her an exceptionally qualified choice.

A resident of Barrington who moved to Rhode Island with her family when she was in the fourth grade, Montecalvo, 48, serves as chief public defender and is tasked with providing high-quality legal representation for Rhode Islanders who cannot afford to hire an attorney in criminal, juvenile, and parental rights cases. Montecalvo has over twenty years of legal experience at the state and federal level. She and her husband, Craig, have a son.

Montecalvo earned a bachelor of arts degree from Swarthmore College and went on to attend Boston College Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2000.

After graduating from law school, Montecalvo worked as a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC for four years, focusing on civil tax matters in federal courts before joining the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office in 2004. Before being confirmed as the state’s Public Defender, Montecalvo served as Chief of the Appellate Division of the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office.

Reed and Whitehouse successfully recommended her predecessor in the Chief Public Defender’s office, Mary McElroy, be nominated to a seat on the federal bench at the U.S. District Court.

It is customary for the President to ask U.S. Senators for recommendations for judicial appointments, although ultimately it is the President’s role to nominate a candidate who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Once Montecalvo’s nomination is formally received by the U.S. Senate, it will then be sent to the Judiciary Committee, which Senator Whitehouse serves on, to be considered, reviewed, and reported out by the committee. After that process is completed, the nomination must then be confirmed by the full Senate.

If confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, Montecalvo will fill the vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that was created by Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson announcing her plan to take senior status. Once a successor is confirmed, Judge Thompson will continue hearing cases, but on a more limited basis.

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