The U.S. Senate confirmed Fort Wayne attorney Holly A. Brady as a federal judge for the Northern District of Indiana on Wednesday afternoon, a year to the day after she was nominated by President Donald Trump.
The Senate voted 56-42 in favor of confirming Brady. Three Democratic senators – Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona – joined majority Republicans to approve her appointment.
Brady fills a vacancy left by the senior status of Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen and the pending transfer of Northern Indiana District Chief Judge Theresa Springmann from the U.S. District Court's Fort Wayne division to its Hammond division.
Brady, 49, has been a partner in the Fort Wayne law firm Haller & Colvin, where she practiced civil, employment and labor law. She will be in the Fort Wayne division of the Northern Indiana court.
Trump nominated Brady on April 10, 2018, and the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended her nomination to the full Senate by a party-line 11-10 vote in June. Democratic senators' opposition to Brady at the time appeared to stem from their lingering resentment over the Republican majority's refusal to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland for an open seat on the Supreme Court in 2016.
Brady's original nomination had been supported by both of Indiana's senators, Republican Todd Young and Democrat Joe Donnelly, who lost his reelection bid last year to Republican Mike Braun. Trump renominated Brady for the federal bench in January after a new term of Congress began.
“Holly Brady will make an outstanding U.S. district court judge in Indiana. Holly has deep roots in the Fort Wayne community and has had a strong federal practice,” Young said in a statement Wednesday after the confirmation vote. “Her credentials are impressive and I believe she will become a strong jurist with a commitment to the rule of law.”
Braun said in a statement: “President Trump continued his strong commitment to nominating conservative judges to the bench who respect the rule of law with his selection of Holly Brady for the U.S. District Court for Northern Indiana.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Senate voted 56-43 to limit debate and advance Brady's nomination to a final vote. Republicans recently changed Senate rules to reduce such debate from 30 hours to two in an attempt to speed the confirmation process for judicial and executive branch nominees.
In their statements, Braun and Young accused Democratic senators of trying to obstruct confirmation votes on Brady and other Trump judicial nominees.
But Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia, said in an email that Senate Republicans had delayed Brady's confirmation “by stressing the appellate vacancies and neglecting the district openings. She could easily have been confirmed last year.”
Brady did not respond to an email from The Journal Gazette. In the past, she has referred all questions about her nomination to the Justice Department.
Brady joined Haller & Colvin in 2007. She formerly was a partner at Theisen, Bowers & Brady and an associate at Barnes & Thornburg and at Gallucci, Hopkins & Theisen.
She has been a member of the board of directors of the Northern District of Indiana Federal Community Defenders Board, an officer and board member for the Allen County Bar Association, vice president of the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center, legal counsel and vice president of Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana and a member of the Allen County Judicial Nominating Commission.
Brady has practiced law since 1994. She is a 1991 graduate of Indiana University, where she majored in English and political science. She earned her law degree in 1994 from the Valparaiso University School of Law.