U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Saldaña of Laredo made history today: She became President Barack Obama’s first Texas judicial nominee to win the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Saldaña will replace her longtime mentor, U.S. District Judge George Kazen, who took senior status last year. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, made note of that fact in a statement prepared for the committee of which he is a member. He also described Saldaña’s remarkable life as a migrant farm worker who began working in the fields at the age of 10. “Diana once served as Judge Kazen’s law clerk, she has appeared before him as a federal prosecutor, and she has presided over many of his cases as a federal magistrate judge. Judge Kazen described Diana as ‘one of the finest law clerks’ he ever had; a ‘tough, no-nonsense prosecutor’; and the ‘quintessential judge — intelligent, hard-working, honest, fair, and decisive.' Finally, Judge Kazen told us that it would be his ‘personal honor’ if Judge Saldaña is confirmed as his successor. I can’t think of much higher praise,” Cornyn wrote in his statement. Saldaña did not immediately return a call for comment.
--- John Council