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Cardin: Obama to nominate Russell to federal court

President Obama intends to nominate Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge George L. Russell III to the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., said Thursday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Russell will succeed Judge Peter J. Messitte, who took senior status nearly three years ago.

Obama withdrew his first choice to succeed Messitte — U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day of the federal district court in Greenbelt — last week amid continuing Republican opposition, Cardin said.

“It was upsetting that for more than a year and a half, Republicans blocked Judge Day from having a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee and then that his nomination was withdrawn by President Obama,” Cardin said in a statement. “Judge Day would have served the people of Maryland well on the [U.S.] District Court.”

Russell has served on the circuit court since Feb. 1, 2007.

Before joining the bench, Russell was an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division in Maryland from 2002 to 2007. He also worked in the office’s civil division from 1994 to 1999.

From 2000 to 2002, Russell was with the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos PC, working in the firm’s products liability and medical malpractice unit.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1991, Russell clerked one year for Maryland Court of Appeals Judge, now Chief Judge, Robert M. Bell.

He has also worked for Hazel & Thomas PC and Whiteford, Taylor & Preston P.A.

Cardin, in his statement, said he originally endorsed Russell for the U.S. District Court seat in Baltimore that will become vacant next year when Judge Benson E. Legg takes senior status. But the Messitte vacancy came back into play when Obama withdrew Day’s name, Cardin said.