WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former member of the Senate Judiciary Committee (2007-2010), today introduced before the Senate Judiciary Committee Magistrate Judge Stephanie Agli Gallagher, President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Northern Division, which is located in Baltimore.
Today’s nomination hearing was only the second held by the Republican-controlled senate in 2016; the previous lower court judge to be given a vote was in February. In the last two years of the Bush Administration, with a Democratic majority, the Senate confirmed 68 judges, including 28 judges in the 2008 election year. More than a year into the current Congress, the Republican leadership has allowed only 16 judges to be confirmed. Last year, Senate Republicans matched the record for confirming the fewest number of judicial nominees in more than half a century, with only 11 for the entire year.
There are now 17 judicial nominees pending on the Executive Calendar. The Judiciary Committee advanced each by voice vote, underscoring the non-controversial nature of the nominations. There also are 35 judicial nominees pending in the Judiciary Committee, with 29 judicial nominees still awaiting a hearing.
Senator Cardin’s remarks as prepared for delivery appear below:
“Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for holding this confirmation hearing today. I am pleased to join Senator Mikulski in introducing Stephanie Gallagher to the Committee today.
“Let me begin by thanking Senator Mikulski, my senior Senator, for setting up such an excellent process in Maryland. We have a process where we seek out the best attorneys in Maryland for vacancies in the District Court and 4th Circuit. We have recommended judicial nominations to the President that have made Marylanders proud of our federal courts.
“This is probably the last judicial nomination from Maryland that I will work on with Senator Mikulski as she retires at the end of this year, I want to take a point of personal privilege and say thank you, Senator Mikulski, for your service to the people of Maryland and for a job well done.
“Stephanie Gallagher is immensely qualified for this position, and would make an outstanding District Judge. The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave Stephanie Gallagher the rating of unanimously well qualified, its highest possible rating. I was pleased with Senator Mikulski to recommend Stephanie Gallagher’s nomination to President Obama. She would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge William D. Quarles, Jr., who retired in February 2016.
“Stephanie Gallagher currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge in Baltimore. She received her B.A. from Georgetown University, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. After law school she clerked for federal Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore. She worked at a private firm for two years before becoming an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Baltimore, where she served from 2002 to 2008. As a federal criminal prosecutor, Judge Gallagher handled a wide variety of cases ranging from white-collar prosecutions to violent offenses and narcotics trafficking, as well as some civil forfeiture matters and immigration appeals.
“She then returned to the private sector for three years to co-found a law firm, Levin and Gallagher. In 2011 she was selected by the Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to be a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern Division of the District of Maryland in Baltimore. As a Magistrate Judge, Judge Gallagher works closely on a daily basis with District Court Judges, the very position she has been nominated for today.
“In her current position, Judge Gallagher convenes settlement conferences, resolves discovery disputes, and prepares reports and recommendations on dispositive motions. She coordinates the Social Security appeals docket for the Division, and adjudicates many of those appeals. With the consent of the parties, Judge Gallagher can take jurisdiction over civil cases. In consent cases, she becomes the presiding judge, making all rulings in the case and overseeing the trial. In this capacity she has presided over civil bench and jury trials. She has served as the criminal duty judge on a rotating basis with her colleagues, where she presides over preliminary proceedings in felony cases and handles misdemeanor cases, including those occurring at federal military installations in Maryland.
“Judge Gallagher has longstanding ties to Maryland, and has been member of the Maryland Bar since 1997. She lives in Baltimore with her family, and public service seems to run in the blood in her family. Her husband, Daniel Gallagher, is a former Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Judge Gallagher has remained active in the legal community as well, as a member of the Board of Governors and Secretary of the Maryland Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (FBA). The FBA’s mission is to strengthen the federal legal system and administration of justice by serving the interests and the needs of the federal practitioner, both public and private.
“She volunteers her time with the Cathedral Food Program, a program at her church providing food to hungry individuals and families. She volunteers at Icing Smiles, a non-profit organization serving families of critically ill and terminally ill children. She co-chairs the Open Doors program, which is an annual event at the Baltimore courthouse in which students at public high schools in the inner city are invited to observe presentations from judges and attorneys, and to participate in mock jury trials. She serves on the Criminal Justice Act Committee of the court, which works to ensure that indigent defendants are afforded qualified legal counsel – consistent with the Sixth Amendment – and the additional resources needed to prepare a defense to federal criminal charges.
“Judge Gallagher brings tremendous experience to the courtroom as a sitting U.S. Magistrate Judge in Baltimore, as well as being a former prosecutor, private law firm attorney, and judicial law clerk. Her strong roots in the Maryland legal community and tremendous understanding and respect for the rule of law make her an exceptional nominee. I was pleased to recommend Judge Gallagher’s nomination to the President along with Senator Mikulski, and I am confident that she will serve the people of Maryland well once confirmed as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Maryland. I encourage the Committee to review her record and favorably report her to the full Senate in a timely manner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.”