Normally, U.S. presidents have a tough time getting federal judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate during the year they are campaigning for re-election. But luckily for President Barack Obama and for Texas, today the Senate confirmed nominees Gregg Costa, who will sit in the Southern District of Texas' Galveston Division, and David Guaderrama, who will sit in El Paso in the Western District of Texas.
Costa, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District, and Guaderrama, a U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District, did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, praises the confirmations. “I’m thrilled Mr. Costa and Mr. Guaderrama, both of whom have impeccable credentials and a passionate commitment to upholding the law, were confirmed today,” Cornyn says in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, chairman of the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation, also is pleased with the confirmations and wishes more nominees like them would be confirmed by the Senate.
“While this process took far too long and there remain too many unfilled judicial vacancies in Texas, this vote represents modest progress,” Doggett says in a statement.
Texas now has four vacant U.S. District Court benches.
UPDATE: Costa says, “I’m humbled by this tremendous honor and I’m excited by getting started.’’ He says he plans to be sworn in next week. Costa’s appointment will impact the government’s criminal prosecution of former executives with the Stanford Financial Group of Houston. Costa was the lead prosecutor during R. Allen Stanford’s criminal trial in U.S. District Judge David Hittner’s court in Houston. In March, a jury found Stanford guilty of 13 of 14 criminal counts against him. The trial of Stanford’s co-defendants is set to begin later this year. Costa says Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Varnado will take his place on the trial team.
Guaderrama says he's honored to become a U.S. district judge. "I look forward to taking the Oath of Office and continuing to serve the community of El Paso and the Western District of Texas," he says in a statement.
-- John Council