Cantwell Praises President Obama’s Nomination of Salvador Mendoza to be a Federal Judge
Cantwell: ‘Today’s historic appointment paves the way for the first-ever Hispanic federal judge in Eastern Washington’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) praised President Obama’s nomination of Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr., for U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington.
Mendoza, currently a Superior Court judge for Benton and Franklin Counties, would be the first Hispanic appointed to the Eastern District bench if confirmed. Mendoza would replace District Court Judge Lonny Suko, who has assumed senior status. Mendoza’s appointment must still be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full U.S. Senate.
“Today’s historic appointment paves the way for the first-ever Hispanic federal judge in Eastern Washington,” said Cantwell. “Salvador Mendoza is a dedicated judge, with experience as a prosecutor and on the bench in the Superior Court in Benton and Franklin counties.
“I was extremely impressed by Judge Mendoza’s experience when I spoke with him. Judge Mendoza personifies the American Dream, from working alongside his parents in fields throughout eastern Washington, to earning degrees from the University of Washington and UCLA. He has given back to the community by his work in helping to found the Juvenile Drug Court Program for Benton and Franklin Counties, expanding access to justice with the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society, and improving access to higher education by serving on the Board of Trustees for Columbia Basin College. I enthusiastically support his nomination and I know that he will impartially administer justice in a region that he is deeply committed to serving.”
Mendoza, who grew up in a family of migrant workers, made history in Washington state as the first Hispanic judge in a Superior, District or Municipal Court in Eastern Washington when Gov. Jay Inslee appointed him to the Superior Court in April 2013. Prior to that, he worked in private practice, and has experience as a deputy prosecutor, defense attorney and judge pro-tempore in district, municipal and juvenile courts.
He also served as an assistant attorney general in the Washington state Attorney General’s office from 1997 to 1998. Mendoza has been a strong proponent of equal access to justice as a volunteer and board member with the Benton-Franklin Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to low-income clients. He also helped establish the Juvenile Drug Court Program for Franklin and Benton Counties and has focused on improving access to higher education as a trustee of Columbia Basin College in Pasco. Mendoza received his law degree from UCLA in 1997 and his B.A. in 1994 from the University of Washington.
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