Judge Rebecca Pennell Will Bring Crucial Experience to the Federal Bench

Courts News 04.17,24

Contact: Patrick McNeil, [email protected]

WASHINGTON Lena Zwarensteyn, senior director of the fair courts program at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on several judicial nominees, including the nomination of Judge Rebecca Pennell to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington:

“Today’s hearing showed the nation why Judge Rebecca Pennell deserves swift confirmation to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Judge Pennell has served as a fair-minded judge on the Washington State Court of Appeals since 2016 and previously spent most of her impressive legal career as a public defender. This vital experience matters tremendously for our courts and the decisions they make. In particular, public defenders play a critical role in our legal system — helping to ensure all people have access to justice — but remain vastly underrepresented in the federal judiciary. When confirmed, Judge Pennell will be just the second public defender to serve as a lifetime judge on this court.

“We thank Chair Durbin for holding today’s hearing and urge the full Senate to swiftly move forward on Judge Pennell’s nomination. We are also grateful to Senators Murray and Cantwell for their leadership. Much more progress is needed to build an equal justice judiciary that works for everyone, and confirming Judge Pennell is a necessary step toward ensuring that our courts truly reflect and represent the diversity of the legal profession and our nation.”

Read The Leadership Conference’s letter in support of Judge Rebecca Pennell.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 240 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.