The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed two federal prosecutors for District Court openings. Pamela Ki Mai Chen was confirmed by a voice vote for the Eastern District and Katherine Polk Failla was confirmed 91-0 for the Southern District.
Chen is chief of the civil rights section in the Criminal Division of the Eastern District U.S. Attorney's Office. Before joining the office, she worked for eight years at the U.S. Justice Department. Chen, who was born in 1961, was nominated by the White House in August for the vacancy created when Judge Raymond Dearie (See Profile) took senior status in April 2011. With Chen's confirmation, there are now no Eastern District vacancies.
Failla, 43, has been chief of the criminal appeals unit in the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office for the past four years and was the unit's deputy chief for four years before that. Prior to joining the office in 2000, she spent six years handling commercial litigation and securities enforcement at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. Fialla was nominated in June to fill the seat left vacant when Judge Denise Cote (See Profile) took senior status in December 2011.
There are now five openings on the Southern District bench, with three nominees pending: Justice Nelson Roman, Appellate Division, First Department (See Profile); Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Analisa Torres (See Profile); and Valerie Caproni, deputy general counsel at Northrup Grumman. There also is one Western District vacancy, with no nominee.