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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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