She would scratch another tally mark into the paper for every ‘yes’ vote she saw across the screen, as it inched closer to the magic number 51.
Cedar Rapids U.S. Attorney Stephanie Rose hit that number and then some last week when the Senate voted to confirm her to a seat on the federal bench in the Southern District of Iowa, 89-1. She easily reached the necessary 51 votes to secure confirmation.
“I was home with my husband, and my daughter was there watching,” Rose, 39, told KCRG TV, which is based in Cedar Rapids. “My son was gone, but I made him watch it later. I was making tally marks, counting the votes to get to 51.”
Rose told the news outlet that it was “surreal” to see her name flash across the screen as a confirmed nominee. And she was honored when her patron, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), called her after the vote.
“It’s a complicated process, the entire vetting, nomination and appointment,” she said. “It has been a long road.”
Rose joined the U.S. Attorney’s office fresh out of law school, saying she thought a judgeship could be in her future — but not this one. She is the first woman to hold the position in the district.
“I thought maybe someday I could start out as a magistrate and work my way up,” Rose said. “Then, the U.S. Attorney’s position came up. I’ve been here since I was 23-years old.”
Rose was nominated to the judge position in February by President Barack Obama. Her nomination hit a bit of snag, however, when her involvement in the controversial Postville Raid in 2008 came to bear. More than 300 undocumented immigrants who were working at a kosher meat-packing plant were arrested. Critics raised questions about the accessibility of legal counsel for the immigrants and also about the conditions of the holding facility in which those arrested were kept for about three days.
Rose explained her role as more of a “key problem solver” and that she did not serve in any decision-making capacity.
Looking ahead, Rose said she knows there will be a lot of “weight on my shoulders” as a new judge but hopes to learn from those with experience on the bench in the district.
As for the U.S. Attorney’s office for Iowa’s Northern District, assistant U.S. attorney Sean Berry will take over her position on an interim basis. A full time U.S. Attorney will likely not be nominated until after the November presidential election.