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It's Official: Nominee Is a Hispanic Woman

CarmenOrtiz For all you out there who have been making short lists and debating the relative merits of the potential nominees, the wait is over. The nominee's name has been announced and, if approved, the female lawyer who has been selected would become the first Hispanic to fill the seat.

That's right. We now know that Carmen M. Ortiz, 53, has been selected to become U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts. (What? You thought I was referring to a different vacancy?) U.S. Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry yesterday recommended that President Obama nominate Ortiz to fill the highest federal law enforcement position in the state, The Boston Globe reports today.

The daughter of Puerto Rico natives, Ortiz grew up poor in New York City's Spanish Harlem. She has worked in the U.S. attorney's office in Massachusetts for 12 years and spent another 10 years as a state prosecutor. In 1990, while working at the Center for Criminal Justice at Harvard Law School, she served on a commission appointed by the National Football League to investigate sexual harassment allegations by a Boston Herald reporter against members of the New England Patriots.

In 1992, as legal counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, she was part of a six-member team that investigated allegations that campaign workers for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush tried to undermine the 1980 re-election prospects of President Carter by delaying the release of the Iranian hostages, according to the Boston Herald. She is a 1981 graduate of George Washington University Law School.

Ortiz would be not only the first Hispanic but also the first female U.S. attorney in Massachusetts. She was chosen over two other finalists, Michael B. Keating and Martin F. Murphy, both partners at the law firm Foley Hoag. "We believe that her prosecutorial experience, commitment to public service, and insight into criminal justice issues will make her an exceptional United States Attorney," the two senators said in a statement announcing her selection.

The National Law Journal has an update on U.S. attorney nominees in other jurisdictions.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on May 20, 2009 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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