With Star Tribune staff writer Randy Furst:
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday cleared the nomination of Twin Cities attorney Andrew Luger to become the next U.S. attorney for Minnesota.
Luger was nominated by President Obama in November on the recommendation of U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Minnesota Democrats.
Though the White House has battled Senate Republicans on executive branch and judicial nominees, it appears that Luger’s confirmation could go up for a vote in the full Senate in the coming days or weeks.
Klobuchar doesn't know when a vote will occur, but said she will press Senate leaders to bring it up as soon as possible. “I am going to try to do everything to expedite it,” Klobuchar said after the vote.
In light of the committee action on a voice vote usually reserved for non-controversial measures, Congressional watchers predict an open path for Luger.
“I think it will be very fast,” said University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, an expert on the federal appointment process.
Tobias noted the consent of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the committee. “That shows Grassley appreciates this appointment needs to be made,” Tobias said.
Grassley had raised numerous procedural roadblocks to the appointment of Luger’s predecessor, former Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Klobuchar also noted that the voice vote appeared to be unanimous, meaning there were no objections from either Grassley or fellow conservative Republican Ted Cruz of Texas, an outspoken Obama critic. The motion to approve Luger was part of a package of nominees including that of the Iowa U.S. attorney and two Texas U.S. marshals, which made it easier to get bipartisan support.
Luger served as assistant U.S. attorney from 1989 to 1992 in Brooklyn, N.Y., and an assistant U.S. attorney in Minnesota from 1992 to 1995, where he focused on white-collar crimes. He is currently a member of the Greene Espel law firm in Minneapolis, where he has specialized in civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense.