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Hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee - Confirmation Hearing of Denise Casper


Location: Boston, MA

Senator John Kerry introduced Denise Casper today at her confirmation hearing to be a United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts. If confirmed, Casper will fill the seat of the late Judge Reginald Lindsay, who passed away in 2009. In January, Senator Kerry and Senator Paul Kirk recommended that President Obama nominate Casper.

Casper has a distinguished legal career spanning the public and private sector. She is currently a Deputy District Attorney for the Middlesex District Attorney's office, serving as second in command. Ms. Casper has also worked for the U.S. Attorney's office, as a clerk for the Massachusetts Appeals Court, in academia, and in private practice.

"Denise will be a great district court judge and a worthy successor to the late Judge Reginald Lindsay," said Senator Kerry. "Everyone who has worked with Denise raves about her work ethic, drive, exceptional management skills, and, in a word, her brilliance. Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, whose judgment I value immensely, told me in no uncertain terms that she would be a star on the bench. Her record in the DA's office, the U.S. Attorney's office, the Massachusetts Appeals court and in academia tell the story of her promise and potential. I am confident the Senate will confirm Denise as quickly as possible."

"In Middlesex County, we truly have a legacy of excellence in serving and protecting the public. As the Deputy District Attorney, Denise Casper is a stellar example of that tradition. Her character, integrity, intellect and legal knowledge are exemplary and, as is customary with each Second in Command, she occupied Senator Kerry's former desk with the same outstanding leadership qualities that the Senator was known for during his time as the Middlesex First Assistant District Attorney. With Denise's hopeful confirmation, we will now retire what is known as "The Kerry Desk", and it will be given a place of honor in the office alongside a plaque depicting our annual John F. Kerry Leadership Award and the photos of its recipients," said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

Kerry's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows:

Thank you, Senator Durbin, for this opportunity to introduce Middlesex Deputy District Attorney Denise Jefferson Casper to the Judiciary Committee. I also want to thank Chairman Leahy for scheduling this hearing so quickly on Denise's nomination to be District Court Judge for Massachusetts. I also want to welcome Denise's mother, her husband Marc and her twin sons Harry and Jacob to today's hearing.

Denise will be a great judge and a worthy successor to the late Judge Reginald Lindsay, who passed away last year after a lengthy illness. He was an inspiration to us all, rising from a childhood in segregated Alabama to become only the second black man ever appointed to the federal bench in Massachusetts. Judge Lindsay loved the bench, so much so that just weeks before his death, he told a friend that he dreamed about returning to the bench every day.

Denise has that same kind of dedication -- to public service as well to the administration of justice -- so it shouldn't surprise anyone that Judge Lindsay was a great mentor to her. And it also shouldn't surprise anyone that Denise is a great mentor through her involvement with the Big Sisters program. Any time Big Sisters has a gala or some other kind of fundraiser, you can bet Denise is going to be the first to fill one of the tables.

Senator Kirk and I recommended Denise to President Obama for nomination after a rigorous examination of her record, and those of the many other qualified candidates, by a selection committee of legal community leaders in Massachusetts. Their conclusion was the same as mine -- that Denise will prove to be a first rate jurist and an important addition to the District Court.

Everyone in the legal community raves about Denise's work ethic, her drive, her exceptional management, and, in fact, her brilliance. Kathy Weinman, a lawyer on the Council of the Boston Bar Association and a member of the selection committee, praised her "respectful leadership." Chief Judge Mark Wolf of the District Court, who she will serve under if confirmed has nothing but the best to say about her. "Denise Casper is a distinguished lawyer with a demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest. My colleagues and I particularly recall her fine service as a federal prosecutor. Ms. Casper's appointment would greatly contribute to our constant effort to give integrity to our nation's promise of Equal Justice Under Law."

I also kept hearing stories about Denise's legendary laugh. It is, I'm told, none too subtle. She is soft spoken, so much so that most people expect only a slight giggle from her when something funny happens. But in the Middlesex DA's office, her laugh can be heard everywhere. When she laughs, everybody on the whole floor knows she's there.

Denise graduated from Harvard Law School and is currently second in command in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, one of the largest in the country. She also was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office and for a time was the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. She also was a clerk for the Massachusetts Appeals Court, an attorney with the firm of Bingham McCutchen and a teacher at Boston University School of Law.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, who is here, told me right away that Denise would be a star on the federal bench. I value Gerry's opinion immensely. But I also have some personal experience to draw on in assessing the job Denise has done in the Middlesex DA's Office. I was the First Assistant in the Middlesex District Attorney's Office from 1976 until 1981, and I know what it takes to run an organization of that size. Denise has what it takes -- she handles everything, from arguing appeals to trying murder cases to handling personnel matters and putting together budgets. She is the epitome of the "lawyer-manager." And besides, she used my old desk until Gerry retired it permanently.

Anybody who looks carefully at Denise's record -- in the DA's office, in the U.S. attorney's office, in the Massachusetts Appeals Court and in academia -- will recognize her talent, her dedication and her promise. I recommend that the Senate confirm her as quickly as possible.

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