Arguello confirms she’s been approached about Supreme Court seat

A Denver federal judge who grew up in southern Colorado confirms she could be under consideration for nomination to the Supreme Court, the Pueblo Chieftain reports. U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello, named to the bench last fall, tops a list of potential dark horse nominees to replace retiring Justice David Souter, The Colorado Independent noted Sunday.

The Chieftain’s Robert Boczkiewicz reports:

Arguello said she was asked a week ago by people in Washington and in Colorado “who are in direct contact with the White House” if she “would be willing to go through the intense scrutiny” that would occur if Obama nominates her.

“I said ‘yes.’ I wouldn’t have gone this far if I didn’t think I could serve my country in this way.”

Christine Arguello (Photo/Casey A. Cass, University of Colorado)

Christine Arguello (Photo/Casey A. Cass, University of Colorado)

President Barack Obama plans to announce his pick for the nation’s highest court next week, The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reported yesterday.

Arguello, a 1977 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder and 1980 graduate of Harvard Law School, was managing senior associate counsel at CU Boulder before being named a federal judge by President George W. Bush. Arguello was a former deputy Colorado attorney general to Democrat Ken Salazar, who supported her nomination to the bench last year when he was still a senator. Former Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican, also backed Arguello.

The Associated Press notes that Arguello is the federal judge presiding over a First Amendment lawsuit filed by a Denver man who says the Secret Service abridged his free speech rights when he approached then-Vice President Dick Cheney in Beaver Creek in 2006. Officers arrested Steven Howards after he “lightly” touched Cheney at a conservative conference and told him the administration’s policy in Iraq was “disgusting.”

Arguello became the first Hispanic judge on the U.S. District Court for Colorado. Last year, only 71 of 1,294 federal judges were Hispanic.

Cognizant of the emphasis being placed on gender and race in the president’s selection process, Arguello said it is not those factors in isolation that are important. “It’s a breath of life experience (from gender and race) that make you a wiser person.”

She said her career as a practicing lawyer, a tenured law professor, a top deputy to former Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar and a high-ranking counsel for the University of Colorado “has given me a breadth and depth of legal experience that I’ve been blessed with.”

Read Arguello’s remarks delivered at her investiture ceremony as a federal judge, including her recollection of the time she picked up a magazine in the Buena Vista library at age 13 and decided she wanted to become a lawyer, “an advocate for those who could not advocate for themselves.”

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Ernest Luning

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