Biden Appoints Milwaukee Judge William Pocan to Federal Bench
Pocan would be first openly gay judge in 7th Circuit.
First appointed in 2006 and re-elected twice since, Pocan currently serves as the deputy chief judge in Milwaukee County. Pocan worked in private practice prior to his appointment to the bench.
Pocan was one of four finalists recommended to Biden earlier this year by a bipartisan nominating commission. The other nominees were federal public defender Krista Ann Halla-Valdes and two Brown County Circuit Court judges, Tammy Jo Hock and Thomas J. Walsh.
The Milwaukee judge, whose nomination is subject to Senate confirmation, would fill a seat occupied by William C. Griesbach. The long-time judge took senior status in 2019 but has continued to maintain a full workload. Federal judges are given lifetime appointments.
Biden made the nomination alongside eight others on Wednesday, “all of whom are extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and devoted to the rule of law and our Constitution,” said the White House in a press release. Biden has now nominated 73 judges.
If confirmed, Pocan would be the first openly gay federal judge in the 7th Circuit.
Similar to Mayor Tom Barrett, the nomination is likely to take several months. But unlike Barrett’s secondary concern of a costly special election, a vacancy on a county circuit court is to be filled by a gubernatorial appointment.
Pocan received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor of arts degree from UW-Parkside. His brother is Representative Mark Pocan, a longtime legislator and current 2nd district representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.
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