Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) included a Bush holdover in his recommendations for the next Illinois Central and Southern District U.S. Attorneys, according to a news release from the senator’s office.
The Illinois senator recommended that President Obama consider retaining Southern District U.S. Attorney A. Courtney Cox in the job he has held since he was appointed to the post by a federal court in November 2007. This is the second Illinois U.S. Attorney that Durbin has asked Obama to keep in place. We previously reported that the Illinois senator requested that Northern District U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald keep his job.
Durbin spokesperson Joe Shoemaker said the Illinois senator did not make his recommendations based on the political affiliations of the candidates. He said Durbin picked the “best qualified people.”
Durbin also suggested that Obama consider lawyer Stephen Wigginton for the Southern District post. He has been with Belleville, Ill. firm Weilmuenster & Wigginton since 2000. Prior to joining the Belleville firm, he spent eight years as a litigator at law firms. He also served as a criminal prosecutor in the Circuit Attorney’s Office in St. Louis.
Durbin recommended to Obama that Central District Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Harris or James Lewis replace Illinois Central District U.S. Attorney Rodger Heaton, who has held his post since 2005.
Lewis has served as the head of the office’s civil division for two decades. He was a Justice Department Civil Division trial attorney and civil rights lawyer in Mississippi before joining the Central District office.
Harris, the office’s criminal division chief, joined the criminal division at the office in 2001. He worked as a litigator at Springfield law firm of Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes from 1988 to 2001 after serving an eight year stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the office.
A bipartisan committee suggested the candidates to Durbin.
Obama has the final say on all U.S. Attorney recommendations. The Senate must confirm the president’s nominees before they can be sworn in as U.S. Attorneys.