Cornyn to chair Senate committee hearings on judicial nominations

By Marilyn Tennissen | Jan 20, 2015

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) will preside over hearings Wednesday to consider judges to fill vacancies in Texas courts.

Up for consideration are Alfred H. Bennett, for U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas; George C. Hanks Jr., for U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas; and Jose Rolando Olvera Jr., for U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas. The hearing will be held before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

There are currently four judicial vacancies in Texas federal districts, as well as two open benches for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The committee will also consider Jill N. Parrish for judge in the District of Utah.

Another panel will consider vacancies for the Department of Commerce for Intellectual Property. Michele K. Lee is being considered for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and for director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Daniel Henry Marti is up for consideration as Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for the Executive Office of the President.

Alfred H. Bennett

Bennett is currently judge of the 61st Civil District Court in Harris County.

A graduate of the University of Houston and the University of Texas School of Law, Bennett also serves as an adjunct professor of law in trial advocacy at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

After admission to the state bar in 1991, he worked at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Houston, Solar & Fernandes LLP in Houston and as a solo practitioner in Houston.

George C. Hanks Jr. 

Hanks, 50, is currently a magistrate judge in the Southern District of Texas and served as a magistrate judge for the First Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2010.

He is a native of Breaux Bridge, La., and a graduate of Louisiana State University, where he graduate first in his class. He attended Harvard Law School where he received the Legal Defense Fund/Earl Warren Scholarship and was editor of the Harvard Law Journal. He also has a master of laws degree from Duke University Law School, which he completed in 2014.

After graduation Hanks clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake, worked at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP in Houston and Wickliff & Hall PC in Houston. Prior to joining the First Court of Appeals, he served as judge of the 157th District Court in Houston.

Hanks is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

Jose Rolando Olvera Jr. 

Olvera has been the presiding judge of the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region of Texas since 2011 and the district judge for the 445th District Court of Texas since 2009.

From 2005 to 2006, he served as the District Judge for the 138th District Court of Texas, and from 2001 to 2002, he served as the District Judge for the 357th District Court of Texas.

Olvera, 51, also worked as a solo practitioner and served as a part-time Brownsville Municipal Court Judge from and as a solo practitioner and then with the law firm of Spain & Olvera.  He also worked in private practice at Fleming & Olvera PC and at Atlas & Hall LLP from 1990 to 1993.

He received his J.D. in 1989 from the University of Texas School of Law and his B.A. in 1985 from Harvard University.

President Barack Obama first made the judicial nominations in September 2014, but on Dec. 16, the nominations were returned to the president due to the sine dine adjournment of the 113th Congress. Obama renominated the judges on Jan. 7.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is the chair of the Judiciary Committee. The Ranking Member of the Committee is Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Along with Sen. Cornyn, the other senator from Texas, Ted Cruz (R) is also a member of the committee.

Other Senate Judiciary Committee members are Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Michael S. Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).



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