Murray and Cantwell will winnow three to one
The names of three finalists for a vacancy on the federal bench in Eastern Washington were released Wednesday by the office of Sen. Patty Murray.
The finalists are private attorneys Stan Bastian, 50, of Wenatchee, and William Etter, 58, of Spokane, and Rosanna Peterson, 57, an assistant professor at Gonzaga Law School.
Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, both Democrats, will interview the three finalists, then forward the name of one nominee in the coming weeks to President Barack Obama.
The president will make the 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 or early summer.
A look at the finalists:
•Bastian, a 1983 graduate of the University of Washington Law School, served as the 2007-’08 president of the Washington State Bar Association.
He worked as an assistant city attorney in Seattle and has been a board member of Legal Aid for Washington, a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring equal justice.
He is a shareholder in the Wenatchee firm of Jeffers, Danielson, Sonn & Aylward.
•Etter, a 1978 graduate of Gonzaga Law School, has been in private practice since 1979 and has worked as a mediator for hundreds of civil disputes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
He is an adjunct professor and lecturer at Gonzaga Law School.
He also has served on the boards of Legal Aid for Washington and the Martin Luther King Outreach Center in Spokane.
•Peterson is an assistant law professor at Gonzaga and director of the law school’s externship program. A 1991 graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law, she is a former president of the Washington Women Lawyers Association and served on the founding board of directors of the Center for Justice.
From 1991 to 1993, Peterson was the staff attorney to U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle.
It’s his move to senior status that created the judicial vacancy.
The three finalists were picked by a six-member, bipartisan committee. More than two dozen applicants applied for the lifetime appointment in November, but only nine got in-person interviews by the committee.
Those tracking the process say it’s highly likely the state’s two senators will select a woman for the post, which would coincide with Obama’s stated goal of putting more women and minorities on the federal bench.