Senate Approves Two New Judges in Southern District
Washington -- The U.S. Senate confirmed two judges to the Southern District on Monday, leaving the court with only a single vacancy.
Valerie Caproni, the former top lawyer of the FBI, was approved by a 73-24 vote to sit on a court that handles many terrorism-related issues.
Vernon Broderick, a litigation partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, was confirmed by a voice vote.
The relatively large number of votes against Caproni may reflect her role in defending and explaining FBI surveillance tactics during an eight-year stint at the bureau.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, often the most vocal opponent of judicial nominees as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, complained that Caproni did not disclose to him—after he asked for them—unclassified emails concerning the FBI's use of national security letters.
A U.S. Justice Department inspector general report in 2010 found FBI lawyers failed to determine if "exigent letters" violated the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Agents were using the letters to compel telephone companies to turn over records during national security investigations based on "exigent" circumstances that did not exist. While the tactic was begun without any input from FBI lawyers, the report found that the lawyers failed to stop it and even helped it continue.
At the time, Caproni took responsibility. After she learned about the practice, Caproni said: "I took reasonable steps to fix it."
Then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., called for Caproni's firing.
Caproni, a 1979 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law, was general counsel of the FBI from 2003 to 2011 before moving to vice president and deputy general counsel at Northrop Grumman.