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Obama nominates four to Ariz. federal court

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- On Thursday, President Barack Obama nominated four Arizonans -- two judges, a career prosecutor and the first female Native American to be named a U.S. attorney -- to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Currently, there are six vacancies on the federal court, which account for nearly 9 percent of the nation's vacant district court judgeships.

Obama's nominees include: Judge Steven Paul Logan of Phoenix, Judge Douglas Rayes of Scottsdale, John Joseph Tuchi of Phoenix and Diane Joyce Humetewa of Phoenix.

Logan was appointed a federal magistrate judge in January 2012. He previously worked as a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office. He also served as a magistrate in the military.

Rayes is a judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court. He also was a candidate for the Arizona Supreme Court.

A career prosecutor, Tuchi works as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona and briefly served as the interim U.S. attorney for Arizona.

Humetawa, the first female Native American to be named a U.S. attorney, formerly served as the state's federal prosecutor from 2007 to 2009. She currently is the special adviser to Arizona State University's president for American Indian affairs.

The four nominees join Rosemary Marquez of Tucson -- who was first nominated to the court in June 2011 -- for Senate consideration.

"The nominees to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona have demonstrated devotion to public service and commitment to justice, and I believe they are uniquely qualified to address the legal issues facing our state," U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said in a statement Thursday.

"The recent judicial vacancies in Arizona have created an unsustainable situation for the court and are a serious impediment to the administration of justice for the people of Arizona. The need to fill these vacancies is critical as the District of Arizona ranks as one of the top 10 busiest district courts in the country.

"I urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider these five very capable nominees as soon as possible and allow the full Senate to swiftly confirm them as the district court judges for the District of Arizona."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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