A committee formed by U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen is accepting applications from people who want to be considered for federal judgeships.

The work is considered urgent because there are two vacancies on Minnesota's federal bench, which carries one of the heaviest workloads in the nation.

Paulsen formed the selection committee last month to review candidates and make recommendations to President-elect Donald Trump for the two vacancies.

A previous committee, created by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken before the November presidential election, has already compiled a list of candidates. But Paulsen, the senior Republican in Minnesota's congressional delegation, was asked to form a fresh committee in light of Trump's victory.

Kathleen Blatz, a former state legislator and chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court who is co-chairing the Paulsen committee, said anyone who applied already will be asked if they would like their applications to be transferred to the new committee.

"We don't want to cut anybody off," Blatz said in an interview.

The new committee is also contacting the state's bar associations, and its leaders will meet with U.S. Chief Judge John Tunheim to discuss the work of the federal bench in Minnesota and what judicial candidates bring to the job.

"Good people who have built reputations usually have their fingers in others things," Blatz said. "They may bring another skill set."

The committee will also be working with White House counsel Don McGahn.

The committee's other co-chair is Bert McKasy, also a former legislator and a former Minnesota Commerce Commissioner, and now an attorney with the Lindquist law firm in Minneapolis.

Paulsen is accepting application materials until Jan. 25.

— Allison Sherry and Stephen Montemayor