Back in February, on the recommendation of U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, President Barack Obama nominated Denver lawyer William Martinez for a long-vacant U.S. District Court judgeship. Martinez’s confirmation in the Senate, which had been awaiting a vote since April, finally took place yesterday, though not without some fireworks. Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, took to the Senate floor to recite a list of nominees, including Martinez, with links to the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization Sessions views as extremist, writes The Denver Post. “It seems that if you’ve got the ACLU DNA, you’ve got a pretty good leg up to being nominated by this president,” Sessions said.
Both Udall, who pointed out Martinez’s broad legal background, and Bennet praised the candidate, who specialized in employment and civil rights law at McNamara, Roseman, Martinez & Kazmierski and once served at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He was ultimately confirmed 58-37, with just two Republican senators, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Susan Collins of Maine, voting to confirm him, notes the Denver Business Journal. The state has not had a full roster of judges in the federal court for nearly three years, reports The Associated Press, and two vacancies remain, including one created by former Judge Edward Nottingham, who became embroiled in a sex scandal.