The U.S. Senate confirmed Matthew Brookman by voice vote Wednesday evening to fill an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Brookman, a magistrate judge since 2016, will fill the district court seat held by Judge Richard Young.
Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond School of Law professor, attributed Brookman’s relatively smooth path to confirmation to the efforts of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Indiana’s two Republican senators, Todd Young and Mike Braun.
Tobias said Durbin really cares about getting federal judicial vacancies filled and had worked with Young and Braun on the Brookman nomination.
Also, Braun and Young had been smart about working with Durbin to make sure the Southern District vacancy got filled, Tobias said.
“I think it’s a real breakthrough,” he said.
Tobias said other vacancies have been left unfilled due to a lack of cooperation between the White House and red state senators. But Brookman’s confirmation continues a pattern of bipartisan cooperation in getting Indiana judges confirmed on the federal level.
“It’s good for Indiana. It takes some of the pressure off the other judges in the Southern District,” he said.
Tobias cited Judge Doris Pryor’s confirmation to the Indiana seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, formerly held by Senior Judge David Hamilton, as another example of bipartisan efforts to fill Indiana judicial vacancies.
The White House on Dec. 21 announced Brookman’s nomination to fill the seat held by Young, who submitted his notice in July 2021 of his intention to take senior status.
Brookman filled a 2016 magistrate judge vacancy created by the retirement of Magistrate Judge William Hussmann.
From 2002 to 2016, he was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
In 2010, Brookman received the Director’s Award from then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for superior performance as an assistant U.S. attorney for his work on United States v. Jarvis Brown, et al., a quadruple homicide prosecution.
A native of St. Louis, Brookman graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, where he majored in economics and history. He subsequently obtained his law degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
Tobias said he would be keeping his eye on other judicial vacancies to see how quickly the Senate fills them.
That includes one in the Indiana Northern District Court, where Senior Judge Theresa Springmann’s chair has been open since she took senior status in January 2021, and Northern District Chief Judge Jon DeGuilio’s position, which will become empty when he takes senior status in July.