Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today introduced U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit nominee Lara E. Montecalvo before a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Montecalvo’s nomination was announced by the White House last month after Whitehouse and U.S. Senator Jack Reed jointly made their recommendations for the seat to the President. Montecalvo currently leads the office of the Rhode Island Public Defender.
“Ms. Montecalvo’s record and commitment to the law shine very brightly,” said Whitehouse, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee and former U.S. Attorney and Rhode Island Attorney General. “She is extremely well-known and well-respected in Rhode Island. She will be fair and impartial. She is expert in her field, and she will serve the First Circuit well. I urge all the Committee to support her.”
Montecalvo’s nomination has earned widespread support from Rhode Island’s judicial and law enforcement communities. Local police leaders, former prosecutors, and current and retired members of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the broader judiciary strongly advocated for her confirmation in letters submitted to the Committee.
“Thank you for considering my nomination to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. It is my sincere privilege to appear before you today,” Montecalvo said in her opening comments, which can be viewed here.
Montecalvo’s extensive litigation and appellate experience handling both criminal and civil cases in state and federal courts make her an exceptionally qualified choice. She has over twenty years of legal experience at the state and federal level.
A resident of Barrington who moved to Rhode Island with her family when she was in the fourth grade, Montecalvo, serves as the state’s chief Public Defender. In that role, she provides high-quality legal representation for Rhode Islanders who cannot afford to hire an attorney in criminal, juvenile, and parental rights cases.
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. She and her husband, Craig, have a son.
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. Prior to being confirmed as the state’s Public Defender, Montecalvo served as Chief of the Appellate Division of the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office.
Once Montecalvo’s nomination has been considered and reported out by the Committee, it must be confirmed by the full Senate with a simple majority vote.
If confirmed, Montecalvo will fill the vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit created when Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson announced her plan to take senior status.
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 thirteen appellate courts that sit one rung below the U.S. Supreme Court.
Watch today’s full hearing here.
Meaghan McCabe, (401) 453-5294