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Former Fed. Defender Judge Luis Restrepo Nominated for 3rd Cir.

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 13, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The midterms are over, which means it's time to get back to work. And President Barack Obama has wasted no to time in getting back to one of his major legacies: shaping the judiciary. On Wednesday, the White House announced two nominees to federal circuit courts of appeals, including one to the Third Circuit.

Who's the new local judge nominee? He's actually not new at all: It's Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, a long-time Philadelphian who began his legal career as a local public defender and, for the last year, has been a federal district court judge.

From Colombia to Philadelphia

Born in Medellin, Colombia, Restrepo's family emigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old. He grew up in Northern Virginia before heading to college at the University of Pennsylvania for undergrad and Tulane for law school (class of 1986).

Restrepo returned to Philly to practice, beginning as a public defender before joining the Federal Defender's office. In 1993, he started his own firm, handling criminal and civil cases, until becoming a U.S. Magistrate Judge in 2006. He joined the district court in 2013.

Renominating Restrepo: Slam-Dunk Confirmation?

It's been two years since Restrepo faced the congressional gauntlet that is the confirmation process. The Legal Intelligencer points out that in 2012, he was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with the support of both Pennsylvania senators (one from each party) and with widespread support in Congress.

Given that both of Pennsylvania's senators are on board with his nomination once again, and the wide margin of his confirmation vote last time, even the midterm switch to a Republican-controlled Senate doesn't seem like much of an obstacle to confirmation. After all, this is about as middle-of-the-road as a nominee of a Democratic president can get.

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