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Senate confirms Durkan as U.S. Attorney

  Legal Business  -   POSTED: 2009/09/30 15:41

The U.S. Senate, without opposition, on Tuesday night confirmed Seattle attorney Jenny Durkan as U.S. attorney for Western Washington, the Northwest's most important job in federal law enforcement.

"She will do a great job and make us very proud in that job," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

A member of a prominent Irish-American political clan - her father ran twice for governor - Durkan has for years been deeply involved in the intersection of politics and law in the region.

Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, she has co-chaired a
bipartisan panel that screens candidates for federal judicial vacancies, and sends suggested finalists to the state's U.S. Senators.

Durkan was lead legal counsel for Gov. Chris Gregoire in the 2005 Chelan County Superior Court trial that threw out a Republican legal challenge and confirmed Gregoire's narrow election. In fact, it expanded Gregoire's victory margin from 129 votes to 133 votes.

In Wenatchee, on the night before a crucial cross-examination, Durkan learned that her father, former state Sen. Martin J. Durkan, had died.

A co-counsel offered to take over in court the next day. Durkan excused herself, went for a long nocturnal walk, came back . . . and performed a stellar cross-examination the next day.

A Notre Dame alumnus, Durkan once worked for Washington, D.C.'s famed Williams & Connolly criminal law firm. She served as legal counsel to Gov. Mike Lowry in the 1990's.


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