Federal judge nominee Rose gets majority vote from Senate Judiciary Committee

Grassley acknowledges concerns about role in Postville raid, but still forwards nomination

Trish Mehaffey
Published: April 19 2012 | 11:04 am - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 4:56 pm in

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose received a majority vote on her nomination for federal judge Thursday by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the committee, said there was an issue raised since the last hearing about Rose but her nomination would go to the Senate floor pending review.

He didn’t explain the issue but said Wednesday during a weekly news conference that there were a lot of questions about her involvement in the prosecution of illegal workers who were arrested during the 2008 Agriprocessors raid at the Postville meatpacking plant. However, Grassley said according to the record Rose followed the law.

Grassley questioned Rose about this last month and she said her role was limited and she was following orders from the U.S. Department of Justice who made the decisions and controlled the fast track prosecutions of more than 380 illegal immigrants.

Grassley’s office confirmed Thursday afternoon the issue wasn’t Postville, it’s a lawsuit that was filed last month against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice by former assistant U.S. Attorney Martha Fagg.

Fagg, 55, who worked in the civil division out of the Sioux City office, claimed in the suit Rose discriminated against her and other regarding age and Fagg’s medical and mental health needs. She claimed Rose retaliated against her after she raised concerns over Rose’s personnel decisions and assignments.

Holder and the department haven’t responded to the suit at this time and no trial date is set.

University of Richmond School of Law Professor Carl Tobias, an expert on federal courts, said he wasn’t aware of the issue Grassley mentioned but he didn’t think Grassley was too concerned about it or he wouldn’t have voted in favor of the nomination, and probably would have held the vote all together if it was a concern.

Tobias said there are 17 judge nominations ahead of Rose waiting on a floor vote.

“There was an agreement (between Democrats and Republicans) to vote on five before May 7, but the rest haven’t been decided,” Tobias said. “There is a circuit judge, just voted on Monday, who has waited five months. Of course, there was the break during December and January, but this (Rose’s vote) could go into summer.”

Tobias said these votes typically slow down in election year. This year, the Republicans may want to hold some of the federal openings in hopes their candidate will win and they can choose the next judges.

“Sen. Grassley is so instrumental and powerful on the committee, I would think he could still press for Rose and others to go to the floor if he chooses,” Tobias said.

Rose, 39, of Center Point, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the federal bench in the Southern District. If confirmed, she will replace Chief Judge Robert Pratt, who will retire July 1.

Rose was appointed as the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District in 2009.

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