The Senate confirmed U.S. Magistrate Judge Kate M. Menendez to fill Minnesota's federal court vacancy, a decision U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith praised over the weekend.
In a joint statement issued Saturday, the Democratic senators said that Menendez was recommended by the judicial selection committee, which comprises distinguished members of Minnesota's legal community and is chaired by Deputy Hennepin County Attorney Lolita Ulloa.
Menendez was nominated by President Joe Biden in September and she appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in early November to take questions and share her experience as magistrate judge.
Menendez was appointed to that position in 2016 and previously served as a federal public defender for more than 18 years. After receiving a bachelor's degree with honors from University of Chicago in 1993 and a Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1996, she served one year as the late Judge Sam Ervin III's law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Her experience includes several adjunct law professor roles in Minnesota, including at the University of Minnesota Law School, Hamline University School of Law and St. Thomas University School of Law.
During questioning on Nov. 3 in Washington D.C., Klobuchar encouraged the Senate judiciary panel to confirm Menendez. In the statement Saturday, the Democratic senators thanked the panel for doing just that.
"Judge Menendez has dedicated her career to making our state a more just place. Having served for five years as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, I am confident that her extensive qualifications will make her an excellent U.S. District Court Judge," Klobuchar wrote. "I fought hard to move her nomination quickly through the Senate, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support for Judge Menendez."
Smith added that Menendez "has demonstrated a deep commitment to equal justice."
"I am confident she will continue serving Minnesota well on this court," Smith wrote.
Staff reporter Hunter Woodall contributed to this report.