(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke in strong support of three nominees – Lauren King, Judge David Estudillo, and Tana Lin – for U.S. District Court Judicial vacancies in the Western District of Washington at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Tana Lin, a former public defender and civil rights attorney, and Lauren King, a pro tem judge in the tribal court system, have both been nominated to serve in the Seattle courthouse, while Grant County Superior Court Judge David Estudillo, a former immigration lawyer, has been nominated to serve in the Tacoma courthouse.
Senator Murray recommended each candidate to the Biden-Harris administration in early 2021 after their names were submitted to the Senator for consideration by Murray’s judicial merit selection committee. Senator Murray has pushed highly qualified candidates with an emphasis on demographic and professional diversity to help create a more fair and representative federal bench.
“Each of these exceptional nominees will bring important experience and a critical perspective to the federal bench, establishing a more fair and just judicial system for Washington state families,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I am extraordinarily proud of these three nominees before the Committee today – they represent the best of Washington state and their country. It was my honor to submit their names to President Biden, and I look forward to a full vote on the Senate floor confirming these three highly qualified nominees.”
Judge David Estudillo was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the position of Grant County Superior Court Judge in 2015. He ran to retain his position on the Court in 2016, and during that election cycle he was endorsed by both Republican and Democratic elected officials of Grant County. In 2020, Estudillo ran unopposed and was elected to serve a second 4-year term. He currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Grant County Superior Court and is the President of the Washington State Superior Court Judges’ Association. Estudillo began his career working at a mid-size firm in North Central Washington and later worked for an insurance defense firm in Seattle that focused on multi-party complex litigation. In 2005, with a desire to reengage with the Latino community in which he was raised and to utilize his Spanish language skills, Estudillo opened his own law firm with offices in both Eastern and Western Washington where he specialized in immigration law. Estudillo represented clients in removal proceedings before the Seattle and Tacoma Immigration Courts, successfully presenting and trying claims for asylum, cancellation of removal, and other forms of relief from deportation. He also frequently volunteered at immigration legal clinics to assist immigrants in applying for citizenship and often presented information in Spanish about immigration policy and procedure at local community forums.
Estudillo’s nomination is endorsed by the Washington State Association of Justice, Police Chief of Moses Lake, City Administrator of Ephrata, Mayor of Moses Lake, Superior Court Judges Association, DSHS Division of Children, Youth and Family, and the Office of Public Defense Director Brett Hill.
Read more about Judge Estudillo’s nomination HERE.
Lauren King chairs Foster Garvey P.C.’s Native American Law Practice Group and has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System since 2013. Ms. King is also an appointed Commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission. She previously taught Federal Indian Law at the Seattle University School of Law. Prior to joining Foster Garvey, King was an associate at Byrnes Keller Cromwell LLP from 2010 to 2012 and at K&L Gates from 2008 to 2009. Ms. King is a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which is located in Oklahoma where she was born, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 2004 before going on to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008. Since then, Ms. King has been a judge for eight years for the Northwest Intertribal Court System, which adjudicates cases for its 24 member tribes. In that role, she has heard appeals in various tribal courts on diverse subject matters, ranging from child welfare cases and landlord-tenant disputes to procedural issues. If confirmed, King will be only the third Native American federal judge in the country and the first Native American federal judge in Washington state history.
King’s nomination is supported by the Washington Leadership Institute, National Native American Bar Association, Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, Native American Rights Fund, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Northwest Indian Bar Association, Federal Bar Association Indian Law Section, Northwest Tribal Court Judges Association, Seattle Indian Health Board, Sault Tribe Law Enforcement, Great Plains Tribal Chairmans Association, Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria, Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, United South and Eastern Tribes (USET), Nez Perce Tribe, Washington State Gambling Commission, Muckleshoot Tribe, Suquamish Tribe, Spokane Tribe, Association on American Indian Affairs, and Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI).
Read more about Lauren King’s nomination HERE.
Tana Lin is Counsel at Keller Rohrback L.L.P. in Seattle where she practices in the complex litigation group, working to vindicate the rights of employees, consumers, and shareholders. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Washington. She has also served as a cooperating attorney for the ACLU, successfully challenging the Trump Administration’s travel ban, obtaining a nationwide injunction preventing the Administration from enforcing the policy with regard to refugees, and settling the case favorably for her clients in February 2020. In other pro bono activities, Lin has worked with Columbia Legal Services and the Lawyers Fostering Independence Program. Lin began her career at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. She then became a trial attorney in the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. Lin continued her work enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the Chicago District Office of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She then spent three years on a range of equal justice projects at the Michigan Poverty Law Program before moving to Seattle and joining Keller Rohrback. Lin would be the first Asian American appointed to be a federal judge in Washington state’s history.
Lin’s nomination is supported by Alliance for Justice (AFJ), ACLU of Washington, Michigan Poverty Law Program, Washington State Asian Bar Association, NYU School of Law, National Asian Pacific Bar Association, and National Legal Aid and Defender Association.
Read more about Tana Lin’s nomination HERE.
Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared for today’s committee hearing are below:
“Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley, it’s my honor today to introduce three nominees for federal district court vacancies in the Western District of Washington.
“As this Committee knows, Washington state has had these vacancies open for a number of years, so I’ll start by thanking President Biden and the Judiciary Committee for working so quickly to provide some long-awaited reinforcements to our bench in Seattle and Tacoma.
“In addition, I want to especially thank the non-partisan judicial merit selection committee, comprised of 10 Washington state lawyers and co-chaired by Ian Warner and Rob McKenna, who guided us in selecting these highly qualified nominees before you today.
“I’ll introduce the nominees alphabetically.
“First, I’d like to introduce Judge David Estudillo.
“He is here today with his family—his wife Sandra, and three children Sofia, Sara, and Sebastian.
“Judge Estudillo currently serves as a Grant County Superior Court judge and had a distinguished career as a litigator and immigration attorney before his current role as the Presiding Judge of the Grant County Superior Court.
“He is a graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, and is a Washington state native whose parents came to the United States from Mexico through the Bracero Program in the 1960s.
“Throughout his career, Judge Estudillo has consistently provided pro bono services and legal education to Latino communities across Washington state, helping people to better understand immigration policy and procedure at community forums.
“Judge Estudillo works hard to ensure that every person who enters his courtroom is treated with respect and dignity.
“I know that he will bring that same approach to the federal bench in Tacoma, and is well-prepared to serve as a federal district court judge.
“Turning to Ms. Tana Lin. Ms. Lin is here today with her family—her husband Paul Michael Holland, her son Patrick, and her daughter Julia.
“Ms. Lin is a litigator with Keller Rorhback in Seattle, where she practices in the complex litigation group.
“Her career has been dedicated to serving the public, having served as President of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Washington, as a Public Defender for the District of Columbia, a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice, and as an attorney with the Michigan Poverty Law Program.
“Ms. Lin has consistently sought opportunities to help train the next generation of lawyers, having also served as an adjunct professor for Seattle University School of Law, and developing trainings for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and National Legal Aid and Defenders Association.
“Ms. Lin would also make history if confirmed—she would be the first Asian American federal judge in Washington state history.
“A Chinese-American, Ms. Lin emigrated from Taiwan with her family when she was a child.
“She would strive to run a courtroom where all litigants are seen, heard, and treated fairly. I wholeheartedly support her nomination.
“Finally, turning to Ms. Lauren King. Ms. King is here today with—her father, Jeff, her mother Lisa, and her fiancé Sean.
“Ms. King currently chairs Foster Garvey’s Native American Law Practice Group, and has served as a pro tem appellate judge for the Northwest Intertribal Court System.
“She has served as a Commissioner on the Washington State Gambling Commission, and taught Federal Indian Law at Seattle University School of Law.
“Ms. King is a citizen of the Muscogee Nation, and she would make history by being the first Native American federal judge in Washington state.
“She would join only two other currently serving Native American federal judges, and become the fifth ever in United States history.
“Washington state is home to 29 federally recognized Indian tribes and it is absolutely essential that federal judges better reflect and understand the unique histories of Native peoples and the legal principles that protect and preserve Native American standing under federal law.
“Ms. King will bring important experience and a critical perspective to the federal bench.
“I am extraordinarily proud of these three nominees before the Committee today. They represent the best of Washington state and their country.
“It was my honor to submit their names to President Biden, and I hope all the members of this Committee will join me in supporting these three highly qualified nominees.”