Obama nominates McQuade for U.S. attorney in Detroit Attorney has served in Eastern District for 11 years

By John Minnis

Legal News

President Barack Obama has nominated Barbara McQuade as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

McQuade, 44, has served as assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit for the past 11 years and became deputy chief of the National Security Unit in 2005. She declined comment, as is custom during the nomination process.

"Out of respect for the nomination process, nominees don't comment while the process is pending," said Department of Justice spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz.

McQuade was among four U.S. attorney nominations made by Obama on Monday. Others nominated were Christopher A. Crofts for the District of Wyoming, James L. Santelle for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Thomas G. Walker for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

"These fine attorneys have a extensive legal experience and a shared commitment to public service," President Obama said in a press release. "I am thrilled that they will continue their service by pursuing justice on behalf of the American people as United States Attorneys."

McQuade was recommended to Obama by Sen. Carl Levin and Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Schwartz said the nominations now go before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. If approved, then the full Senate will vote on the nominations. The DOJ spokeswoman said there is "no given timeframe" for the Senate votes.

If recent nominations and confirmations are any indication, there has been a two-month lag between presidential U.S. attorney nominations and Senate confirmation. On Sept. 25, Obama presented four U.S. attorney nominations, of which two were confirmed by the Senate on Nov. 21. However, a third confirmation made in November had been pending since Aug. 25.

While some confirmations languish, it appears that once the full Senate votes on nominees, their confirmations are unanimous.

If confirmed, McQuade will replace Acting U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg, who took over for Stephen J. Murphy after the latter's confirmation in August 2008 as U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Prior to joining the U.S. attorney's office in Detroit, McQuade was an associate attorney at Butzel Long from 1993 to 1998. After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1991, she clerked two years for the U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit.

McQuade has served on many board and committees in her legal career. She is immediate past president of the Federal Bar Association of the Eastern District of Michigan and is currently president of the Michigan chapter of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Elisa Angeli Palizzi, president of the FBA for the Eastern District of Michigan was delighted with her colleague's nomination.

"Barb McQuade's leadership, judgment and passion are exceptional," she said. "Her nomination is great news for the citizens of the Eastern District of Michigan."

Tom Tallerico, president emeritus of the ACS of Michigan, agreed.

"I think she's a great lawyer," he said, "and she will make a great U.S. attorney."

Schwartz at the Department of Justice said that once confirmed, U.S. attorneys will be encouraged to comment to the press.

That is, of course, if they are not too busy in their new posts.

Published: Wed, Dec 2, 2009