Obama administration U.S. judge nominee is re-nominated by Trump to bench in Maryland

Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher — originally an Obama administration nominee — was nominated Thursday by President Donald Trump to fill a U.S. District Court vacancy in Maryland's Northern Division in Baltimore.

It is Gallagher’s second time being named to replace Judge William D. Quarles, who announced his retirement in 2016. Her original nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee that year but was never acted on by the full, Republican-controlled Senate.

Her supporters had urged a vote on Gallagher, 45, a co-founder of the private law firm Levin & Gallagher LLC.

“Because Judge Gallagher is an experienced, consensus nominee and the district of Maryland needs this vacancy filled, the Senate must promptly conduct her final debate and vote,” University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias wrote in a Baltimore Sun guest column in September 2016.

It was uncertain if she would be nominated for the post again after President Barack Obama left office in January 2017.

Tobias said Thursday that he was pleased with the White House action.

“I thought she was well qualified and should have gotten it before. She’s a mainstream, experienced judge,” Tobias said. “It’s good the White House is doing that – that’s the way it should work.”

Tobias said he expected her to be approved by the Senate this time. By his count, Gallagher is the 12th federal district judge appointee from the Obama administration to be re-nominated, and he said five have been confirmed.

Gallagher’s nomination was pushed by Maryland’s two Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen. Each praised the appointment Thursday, citing her experience and Maryland roots.

Gallagher was appointed an assistant U.S. attorney in 2002 and served for six years as a federal prosecutor in Baltimore. She served as clerk to Judge J. Frederick Motz in U.S. District Court in Maryland for two years after graduating from Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

As assistant U.S. attorney, Gallagher successfully prosecuted high-profile criminals, including the cameraman for the underground Stop Snitching DVD, who in 2008 was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on gun and drug charges, as well as two members of the violent Lexington Terrace Boys gang who carried out a string of murders.

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