Northern District nominees Brisco, Lund make 1st appearance in front of Senate Judiciary Committee

  • Print
IL file photo

A pair of northern Indiana trial court judges made their first appearances before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, as they look to fill judicial vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

St. Joseph Superior Judge Cristal C. Brisco and Elkhart Superior Judge Gretchen S. Lund faced a brief round of questions from the committee after being introduced by Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young.

Young told the committee it was the first time he had brought forward recommendations for judges from the state’s superior courts.

St. Joseph Superior Judge Cristal Brisco

Judge Gretchen Lund

“If confirmed, they will be missed locally, but I trust they will bring the same sense of professionalism to the federal bench,” the senator said.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, asked Lund about her efforts in helping to establish Elkhart County’s first drug court for nonviolent offenders.

Lund said the program was created to help individuals take accountability for their actions and provide them with rehabilitation and treatment opportunities.

“It is our hope that through this we can restore lives and families and ultimately increase public safety by breaking the cycle of addiction,” she said.

Durbin asked Brisco how her experience as a state judge had prepared her for the federal bench.

Brisco said her five years as a state judicial officer has taught her the importance of fostering a courtroom environment where everyone is treated with civility and respect.

“I view my role as keeping the temperature down so that I am able to fully listen to the arguments of counsel (and) keeping an open mind,” Brisco said.

Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond School of Law professor, said the most important aspect of the hearing for him was the strong support voiced by Young when introducing the nominees, and the fact that he and Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun have returned the nominees’ blue slips.

“These ideas mean that both nominees will be confirmed,” Tobias said.

Prior to Brisco and Lund’s appearances Wednesday, committee members spent more than two hours asking questions of Nicole G. Berger, nominee to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Adeel Abdullah Mangi, nominee to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Tobias said that it was unfortunate that the committee allowed the two appellate nominees to consume so much time, leaving little time to question Brisco or Lund.

Aside from Durbin, only Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, asked questions of the Hoosier nominees.

If confirmed, Brisco and Lund would fill the vacancies created by Judges Theresa Springmann and Jon DeGuilio taking senior status on Jan. 23, 2021, and July 17, 2023, respectively.

Brisco currently presides in St. Joseph Superior Court 4, where she also serves as a commercial court judge. She was appointed to the bench in 2021 after having served as a magistrate judge in St. Joseph Circuit Court since 2018.

She is a 2002 graduate of Valparaiso University and a 2006 graduate of Notre Dame Law School.

Lund was elected in 2014 and took the bench in Elkhart Superior Court 4 in 2015. Before that, she had served as judge of the Goshen City Court since 2008.

She is a 1998 graduate of Butler University and a 2001 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law.

To advance the nominations, the committee will need to hold a vote on Lund and Brisco before sending their names to the full Senate for consideration and a final vote.

To read more about pending federal judicial vacancies, pick up the Dec. 20 issue of Indiana Lawyer.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}