October 11, 2018

Whitehouse, Senate Judiciary Committee Advance McElroy Nomination for Rhode Island Federal Bench

Whitehouse, Reed continue fight to fill vacant seat on U.S. District Court for Rhode Island

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Jack Reed (D-RI) cheered the Judiciary Committee’s approval of the nomination of Rhode Island Public Defender Mary McElroy for the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island.  McElroy now awaits a vote in the full U.S. Senate on confirmation. 

Reed and Whitehouse originally recommended McElroy for this seat on the federal bench over three years ago.  Her nomination was put forward by President Obama in September of 2015 and she was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in January of 2016, but never received a vote by the full Senate.  President Trump nominated her a second time in April.  The nomination must be confirmed by the full Senate.

“I was happy to vote to advance Mary McElroy’s nomination through the Judiciary Committee today.  Mary’s legal credentials are exemplary, her record of public service is long, and her commitment to the state of Rhode Island is clear.  The strong show of support she received in committee is a testament to those qualifications.  I appreciate the bipartisan work of both the Obama and Trump White Houses to fill this seat on Rhode Island’s federal bench.  Now, I join my senior Senator and fellow advocate for Mary’s nomination, Jack Reed, in looking forward to her swift consideration on the Senate floor,” said Senator Whitehouse.

“This is a positive and long overdue step toward adding another highly-qualified judge for the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island.  Ms. McElroy has had a stellar legal career, received bipartisan support, and I am confident she will serve with distinction on the federal bench.  I appreciate my colleagues on both sides of the aisle coming together to move her nomination forward.  After many years of uncertainty, it is good to have some positive momentum,” said Senator Reed.  “Senator Whitehouse and I will continue working together to ensure our colleagues know her outstanding credentials and reputation for being fair and open-minded.  We look forward to her confirmation in the near future.”

A Warwick native who currently resides in Coventry, Mary McElroy serves as the state’s Public Defender.  She is the first woman in Rhode Island history to hold this important post, which provides high-quality legal representation for citizens in Rhode Island who cannot afford to hire an attorney in criminal, juvenile, and parental rights cases.  McElroy has over 20 years of legal experience at the state and federal level, having previously served as Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Office of the Federal Defender for the United States District of Rhode Island and as Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Rhode Island Public Defender.

She graduated with honors from Suffolk University School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree in history from Providence College.  She clerked for the Honorable Donald F. Shea of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  She also has experience in private practice as an associate with the Providence law firm Tate & Elias.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island is the state’s federal trial court that has jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.

The Judiciary Committee voted 19-2 in favor of McElroy’s nomination today.  If confirmed, McElroy would fill a vacancy created by Judge Mary M. Lisi, who assumed senior status in 2015.


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