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Federal bench finalists named for Eastern Washington

Wed., Jan. 21, 2009, 2:20 p.m.

The names of three finalists for a vacancy on the federal bench in Eastern Washington were released today by the office of Sen. Patty Murray.

The finalists are private attorney Stan Bastian, of Wenatchee; William Etter, who practices law in Spokane; and Rosanna Peterson, an assistant professor at Gonzaga Law School.

The three finalists were picked by a six-member, bi-partisan selection committee. Its co-chairs were Mike Ormsby, of Spokane, and John Schultz, of Kennewick.

Other selection committee members – all attorneys – were Kathryn McKinley and Richard Leland, both of Spokane; Andy Miller, Benton County prosecuting attorney; and Dale Foreman, of Wenatchee.

From the finalists list, Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell will select one nominee and forward that name in the next few weeks to President Obama, who will make the formal appointment after a background investigation by the Department of Justice.

The naming of the new judge for the Eastern District of Washington, subject to Senate confirmation, is expected to occur this spring after the new Democratic administration deals with other more pressing issues.

More than two dozen applicants applied for the lifetime appointment in November, but only nine got in-person interviews by the selection committee.

Those tracking the process say it’s highly likely the state’s two Democratic women senators will select a woman for the post. That would coincide with Obama’s stated goal of putting more women and minorities on the federal bench.

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