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Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LIEBERMAN. Madam President, I thank my friend and colleague from Washington, Senator Murray, for yielding to me for a moment to make a unanimous consent request regarding the nomination of Donna Murphy of the District of Columbia to be an associate judge on the DC Superior Court.

This nomination was favorably reported by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on June 29, 2011. That is almost 1 year ago. For that year, this nomination has been stopped from a vote. I come to the floor today to say it is time for this to stop.

In fairness to this able nominee, she deserves an up-or-down vote. She would bring a wealth of talent and experience to the job.

Donna Murphy has been a career attorney in the Department of Justice for four administrations--two Democratic and two Republican--and has received strong support from senior officials for whom she worked in each one of those administrations.

John Dunne, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President George H.W. Bush praised Ms. Murphy as ``extremely smart, hard-working, and fair-minded.''

Bill Lee, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President Clinton recalls Ms. Murphy as ``one of the best lawyers in the Division who was known for her fairness, integrity, smarts, legal skills, dedication and exceedingly hard work.''

Wan J. Kim, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights under President George W. Bush recommended Ms. Murphy for the D.C. Superior Court believing that she possessed the qualities he has seen in exemplary jurists. Under Mr. Kim, Donna Murphy received the division's highest award in 2007, the John Doar Award for Excellence and Dedication, an award that was established under the first Bush administration.

So there is no rational reason at all to continue to deny this nominee an up or down vote.

A native of Norristown, PA, Ms. Murphy fell in love with Washington, DC during a visit when she was just 12 years old. She moved here to attend college at American University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science in 1986.

From American University, she went to Yale Law School--a decision I naturally admire--and received her law degree in 1989.

Since October 1990, she has worked for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division on a variety of cases, including voting rights, discrimination in credit, housing and public accommodations, and allegations of police misconduct.

It is her work on these police cases that has brought about some criticism, but not much.

Both prior to the Committee's approval of Ms. Murphy's nomination and afterwards, Committee staff investigated the criticism and found no evidence to support the charge that she would be negative to police.

In fact, we have received letters of support for Ms. Murphy from leading police officials, including one group in Los Angeles, CA, for her work in negotiating and implementing consent decrees regarding allegations that the Los Angeles Police Department had been systematically violating people's civil rights.

The Committee received a letter from Gerald Chaleff, the Special Assistant for Constitutional Policing for the LAPD who negotiated the consent decree between the LAPD and Department of Justice. Mr. Chaleff wrote that during negotiation and implementation of the consent decree Ms. Murphy earned the respect and admiration of LAPD personnel with whom she dealt. Mr. Chaleff also notes that contrary to the vague and unsubstantiated allegations made against her, Ms. Murphy at all times acted honorably, ethically, and intelligently.

We have similar letters from law enforcement officials praising her work negotiating similar consent decrees with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, the city of Steubenville, OH, and the New Jersey State Police.

It is past time the Senate approve this nomination and send this qualified nominee to the bench and let her serve the city that has been her home for more than 20 years.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that these letters, as well as the letters from former Justice Department officials that I cited earlier, be printed in the Record.


Mr. LIEBERMAN. Madam President, I am going to keep returning to the floor of the Senate in fairness on this nomination. She is such a deserving nominee and at least deserves a vote up or down.

I yield the floor.


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