ILNews

Committee questions Van Bokkelen at confirmation hearing

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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Northern Indiana ;s U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen faced the U.S. Senate ;s Judiciary Committee this morning in his confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship opening in Hammond this summer.

President George W. Bush nominated Von Bokkelen to replace retiring Judge Rudy Lozano, who plans to take senior status in July.

During the hearing, Von Bokkelen and three other nominees for judgeships: Debra Ann Livingston for 2nd Circuit judge, Roslynn Renee Mauskopf for district judgeship in the Eastern District of New York, and Richard Sullivan for district judgeship in the Southern District of New York answered questions from the committee chair.

Questions ranged from background, how Von Bokkelen each would fairly consider cases that could come before the court from prosecutors he once worked with, and his views about the ongoing U.S. attorney firing controversy in regard to the proper balance between prosecutorial independence and the presidential prerogative to appoint nominees.

He also noted three judges in particular whom he ;s looked up to during his career: 7th Circuit Judge Michael Kanne, who hailed from the Northern District of Indiana; deceased Northern District Judge Phil McNagy Jr., who was a former assistant U.S. attorney; and St. Joseph Judge George Beamer, who Von Bokkelen described as being a role model and mentor in his role as prosecutor.

Von Bokkelen was recommended in November by Sen. Richard Lugar – who attended the hearing – and Von Bokkelen has since completed a questionnaire, undergone an FBI background check, and completed a question-answer session with the 19-committee members.

There is no timeline for the committee to confirm Van Bokkelen, who went through confirmation hearings for U.S. attorney after being appointed by President Bush in 2001.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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