In Setback for D.C. Equality, Trump Nominates D.C. Federal Judge Without Consulting D.C.’s Only Federal Representative

May 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that, although she requested consultation, the Trump Administration has nominated Dabney Friedrich to the District Court for the District of Columbia without consulting Norton, which was the practice of the last Republican administration, under President George W. Bush.  In March, Norton wrote President Trump asking for the courtesy of consultation on federal law enforcement officials nominated to serve the District of Columbia.  Presidents Clinton and Obama extended Norton the courtesy to recommend these officials in the same manner as Democratic senators.  Norton is still reviewing what is known of Friedrich’s nomination, but said that she had no information to question the nomination.  She said that D.C.’s lack of representation in the Senate is particularly unfair for nominations of federal officials who serve the District, including judges, the U.S. Marshals for the District of Columbia, and particularly the U.S. Attorney for District of Columbia, who has jurisdiction not only over federal crimes, but over local D.C. crimes, which is unique for a U.S. Attorney.  Under Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), like his immediate predecessor and some prior chairmen, the committee has not considered nominees for federal judge, U.S. attorney, or U.S. Marshal unless both home-state senators, regardless of party, consent to the nominee moving forward.  Norton has introduced a bill to require D.C. district court judges, the U.S. Attorney for D.C., and the U.S. Marshal for D.C. to live in the city.  Virtually all such officials must live in the district to which they are appointed.

“Considering that the President and I are not in the same party, I did not request to recommend nominees, but instead asked for consultation courtesy, using the precedent under the Bush Administration, which informed me of the candidate before a nomination, solicited my opinion, and even gave me the courtesy of interviewing the candidates,” Norton said.  “I never had occasion to differ on the president’s selection.  District of Columbia residents have no representation in the U.S. Senate, but they pay the highest federal taxes per capita in the United States to support their country.  They should not be denied a say on the federal officials nominated to serve them.  I urge Trump officials to reconsider the process they used for this selection and give our residents a voice by consulting with me on future selections of federal officials who serve this city, as the Bush Administration did.”

From 2006-2016, Friedrich served as a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  From 2003-2006, she served as associate counsel at the White House under George W. Bush.  From 2002-2003, she was counsel to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT).  From 1995 until 2002, she was an assistant U.S. attorney, first for the Southern District of California (1995-1997) and then for the Eastern District of Virginia (1998-2002).  From 1994-1995, Friedrich worked as an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Diego.  Friedrich received her B.A. from Trinity University, her Diploma in Legal Studies from Oxford University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School.