The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday lent a sympathetic ear to U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd as he sought elevation to a Fresno-based position as U.S. District Court judge.
Nominated to the Eastern District of California position in November by President Barack Obama, Drozd had been in a holding pattern awaiting his confirmation hearing. His supporters say the 60-year-old Drozd is needed now because of the region’s heavy workload.
“We’ve got a serious problem in the Eastern District,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in introducing Drozd, a longtime Sacramento federal magistrate judge. “Cases are piling up. We just can’t afford to leave the seat vacant any longer.”
Accompanied by his wife, two sons and a number of other family members, Drozd teared up briefly as he thanked his late parents. He was one of four judicial nominees questioned, relatively briefly, during the roughly hour-long hearing.
“I most definitely will apply all applicable mandatory minimum sentences where called upon by the law,” Drozd reassured one conservative North Carolina senator.
If confirmed by the full Senate, as now seems likely, Drozd would replace Judge Anthony W. Ishii, who took senior status in 2012. There is no timetable for a Senate decision.