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President chooses magistrate for judgeship

January 1, 2008
President George W. Bush has nominated an Indianapolis federal magistrate to replace Judge John D. Tinder who recently took a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The president on Thursday sent a nomination to the Senate for Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence, who's been on the federal bench since November 2002. Magistrate Judge Lawrence was one of seven nominations sent, including nominations for the U.S. Tax Court. Republican Sen. Richard Lugar recommended the Indianapolis magistrate for the position.

"I have known Billy Lawrence for a number of years, and I am impressed with his high energy, resolute integrity, and dedication to public service," Lugar wrote in an e-mail to Indiana Lawyer this morning. "Perhaps more importantly, I am impressed by his temperament which is critical for this important role. He has an impeccable reputation and is well respected in the legal community and on both sides of the political aisle."

Prior to the federal bench, Magistrate Judge Lawrence served as Marion Circuit judge since 1996 after working as a part-time master commissioner for more than 13 years. He had been a part-time public defender in the county for nine years.

The 1973 graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis has served in multiple leadership positions since being admitted to the bar that year. Lugar previously appointed him as executive director of Indiana's first Merit Selection Commission on Federal Judicial Appointments. Magistrate Judge Lawrence has also been elected to the Indiana Judicial Conference's board of directors three times.

If confirmed for the judgeship, Magistrate Judge Lawrence would succeed Judge Tinder, who the president nominated for the federal appeals court last summer. He took that seat late last year after being confirmed by the Senate.

Magistrate Judge Lawrence will have to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate in order to be appointed as judge. No deadline is set for when that must happen, and spokesman Andy Fisher in Lugar's office said he didn't yet know a timeline for Senate consideration.
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