Iowa senators recommend four for vacant federal judgeship

President Donald Trump to fill seat in Cedar Rapids

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U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst forwarded recommendations of two Iowa judges, a prosecutor and a civil attorney to President Donald Trump Thursday to fill a U.S. District judgeship in Cedar Rapids.

Those recommended are Lisa A. Stephenson, a corporate legal officer; 6th Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill; U.S. Chief Magistrate C.J. Williams of the Northern District of Iowa; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Williams of the Northern District of Iowa.

“These individuals have the outstanding qualifications required to be considered for a lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary, and I’m pleased to put forward their names for the President’s consideration,” Grassley said.

Added Ernst: “They have exceptional qualifications and represent the best of Iowa’s legal community.”

The appointed judge will replace U.S. District Judge Linda Reade, who took senior status earlier this month. The nominee, selected by the president, will be confirmed with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate and serve a lifetime appointment.

Ernst and Grassley said Thursday’s recommendations are the result of a process they established that invited all Iowa lawyers to submit their names for consideration as a recommendation and all applicants to go through an interview process and be considered by an independent review panel convened by the senators.

Stephenson, general counsel of CRST International Inc., primarily focuses on transportation and logistics, employment and agency law; regulatory law; and mergers and acquisitions. She previously was an attorney for Simmons, Perrine, Moyer and Bergman in Cedar Rapids. Stephenson earned her law degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a graduate of Mount Mercy College.

Thornhill handles all aspects of felony criminal, complex civil, family law, probate and administrative appeal cases. He was previously an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Iowa and was responsible for criminal prosecutions of felony cases. He also served in the U.S. Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He earned his law degree with high distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Iowa College of Business and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

C.J. Williams presides over all pretrial criminal and civil proceedings, along with trials by agreement of the parties. He was previously an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District, serving as the senior litigation counsel. He also was an attorney with Lathrop and Gage L.C. in Kansas City, Mo., and for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Williams earned his law degree with high distinction from the University of Iowa’s College of Law and a Master of Laws Degree — or LLM — from the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s School of Law and is a graduate of the University of Iowa.

Lisa C. Williams serves as the violent crime coordinator for the Northern District and previously served as a special assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern and Southern districts. She also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years, including from 2005 to 2009 as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Williams earned her law degree with distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and is a graduate of Smith College.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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