On Senate Floor, Bennet Speaks in Support of Judge Gordon Gallagher
Remarks on the Senate floor in support of Judge Gallagher — As Delivered.
Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to come to the floor and share a few words about an upcoming vote we’re going to have this afternoon…on Gordon Gallagher, President Biden’s nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.
Judge Gallagher comes to this floor with a stellar reputation in Colorado and nearly 25 years in service to others. As a defense attorney for both indigent and paying defendants, a prosecutor in Mesa county, and as United States magistrate judge for the District of Colorado, the judge credits his devotion to public service to his grandfather who served as an air navigator during the Second World War and was shot down over eastern Europe on his 49th mission.
After the war, Gordon’s grandfather came home to continue the fight for America’s highest ideals, working to integrate housing in his local community. And his example stuck with Gordon.
So when he did a family trip to Colorado when Gordon was just 8 or 9, like everybody who comes to our state, he fell in love with it and fell in love with the Rocky Mountains.
After years later, as a student at Macalester, he fell in love with a Coloradan, his wife Christine. Gordon would eventually follow Christine back to Colorado where he earned a law degree from the University of Denver.
After graduating, Gordon practiced in a law firm representing small businesses and served for nearly four years as deputy district attorney for Mesa County, Colorado. Later, Gordon launched his own firm as a defense practitioner and began working with the office of alternative defense counsel, representing clients who couldn’t afford their representation. He spent over a decade in this role, fighting for the American ideal that everyone, no matter what their means, deserves equal representation before the law.
In 2012, Gordon was appointed a part-time magistrate judge, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, a position he holds to this day.
Senator Hickenlooper and I recommended Judge Gallagher to this position because, unlike anyone currently on the District Court, he has spent the majority of his career on the Western Slope of Colorado, a rural, mountainous part of our state, with a specific perspective on issues that range from public lands to natural resources to federal regulation.
We need that perspective on the federal bench. It’s been too long. We haven’t had an appointee from the Western Slope of Colorado in over 30 years. Judge Gallagher is the perfect nominee to bring that perspective to the bench.
Over his career on the West Slope, Gordon’s work ranged from representing a young man charged with manslaughter of his best friend to securing rehabilitative services for members of the Southern Ute and Mountain Ute Tribes to hearing traffic complaints in small-town courts because sheep herders had blocked the local highway. I know I’m not saying anything that the presiding officer hasn’t seen in New Mexico.
As a presiding judge, Gordon has presided over most stages of a felony docket, from substantive motions to pleas, post-conviction proceedings, and sentencing, a level of participation in federal criminal cases far beyond a typical magistrate judge.
He’s also worked on a vast array of issues, including criminal, civil, patent, pro se, and environmental litigation, including many cases with difficult trade-offs between natural resource extraction, conservation, and recreation. These issues are common for the U.S. District Court for Colorado, and they require someone with Judge Gallagher’s deep and direct experience.
More than that, everyone we have spoken with tells us how much Judge Gallagher enjoys being on the court and how he cherishes the opportunity to serve our country, just like his grandfather.
Judge Gallagher’s entire career has prepared him for this position. He has proven his character, his integrity, and legal acumen over a distinguished 25-year career. He has my full and enthusiastic support.
I want to thank my fellow colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for advancing his nomination with overwhelming bipartisan support. They saw what an exceptional judge he would make, and I wholeheartedly agree. I hope we’ll have a large bipartisan vote to support Judge Gallagher in his confirmation.