Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa





Iowa Federal Judicial Nominee, Ebinger, Clears Senate

Feb 08, 2016

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley said today that the nomination of Judge Rebecca Ebinger to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Iowa was passed by the Senate tonight by a vote of 83-0.  Ebinger’s nomination will now be sent to President Barack Obama who nominated her on Sept. 15, 2015.

“Judge Ebinger is high quality and high character.  Her appreciation for the Constitution and the rule of law set her apart from others.  I appreciate my colleagues’ votes in favor of her nomination,” Grassley said.  

Grassley recommended Ebinger and Judge Leonard Strand to the White House after an extensive effort by a Judicial Selection Commission that Grassley formed after two judges announced their intention to take senior status.  The commission was comprised of highly qualified members of the Iowa legal community, and led by Cynthia Moser, a former Iowa State Bar Association president. The commission also included Richard Sapp, Jeffrey Goodman, Harlan D. Hockenberg, and Adam Freed.  

These lawyers spent hundreds of hours carefully reviewing applications and interviewing each of the 39 Iowans who submitted applications and sought consideration.  Eleven applicants were then selected to participate in a lengthy second interview.  The commission’s review included not only these interviews, but also a thorough study and examination of the applicants’ professional history, credentials, and qualifications.  The commission then made recommendations to Grassley, who – in consultation with Senator Joni Ernst – reviewed the candidates and their qualifications before submitting his recommendations to the White House.  

Ebinger is a state district judge in Polk County.  She graduated from Yale Law School, was an assistant U.S. attorney in both the Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa, and clerked for Judge Michael J. Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Today’s vote was held after an agreement in December between both the Republican and Democratic leaders that Ebinger and Strand of Sioux City would be two of five judicial nominees to be voted on before President’s Day.  As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley helped lead the effort to reach the agreement.  Strand’s nomination is also expected to be voted on this week.

Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
The Nomination of Judge Rebecca Ebinger
Monday, February 8, 2016

Today, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Judge Ebinger from Iowa. I’m very pleased to be here to support her and to urge all my colleagues to also support her nomination.

I’m very proud of the work my colleague, Senator Ernst, and I have done to fill vacancies in Iowa’s district courts by putting forward two exceptionally talented and qualified nominees, Judges Ebinger and Strand.  

I said this in committee, but for the benefit of all my colleagues, the Iowa nominees are two of the best judicial candidates the President has nominated during his Presidency.  

To fill the vacancies in Iowa, I set up a Judicial Selection Commission and invited all interested Iowa lawyers to apply. The applicants were vetted by highly qualified members of the Iowa legal community. After spending hundreds of hours reviewing the applications, the commission interviewed all 39 applicants. 11 candidates were then selected for a lengthy second round of interviews.

At the end of the process, the commission sent their recommendations to me. In consultation with my fellow Iowa Senator, I was proud to recommend Judges Strand and Ebinger to the White House.  Judges Strand and Ebinger have the highest credentials and character and will serve the state of Iowa with honor and distinction.

Now, let me tell you a bit more about Judge Ebinger.

Judge Ebinger received her undergraduate degree in 1997 from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and her law degree from Yale Law School in 2004. She then served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. There, she prosecuted criminal cases involving narcotics, immigration, firearms offenses, and violent crimes.

She then clerked for Judge Michael Melloy on the Eighth Circuit for two years, also in Cedar Rapids.  Following her clerkship, she moved to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa as an Assistant United States Attorney. During this time, her practice shifted primarily to white collar crime. She also handled intake for all child support enforcement cases and sex offender registry violations.  Judge Ebinger received a number of awards for her work with the United States Attorney’s Office.

In 2012, she was appointed to serve as a district judge in Iowa state court and she was retained as a district judge in the 2014 election. As a state court judge, she presides over a court of general jurisdiction handling civil law and equity, criminal and family court proceedings. She has presided over 40 cases that have gone to verdict or trial.

Judge Ebinger is a highly qualified, well respected judge already and I urge my colleagues to support her nomination today.

I yield the floor.