Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet Recommend Candidates for U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Oct 7, 2021

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet recommended three candidates to President Joe Biden for the upcoming U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado vacancy. The recommendations follow guidance from the senators’ advisory committee. 

In a letter to President Biden, Hickenlooper and Bennet recommend Gordon Gallagher, Kenzo Kawanabe, and Nina Wang to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado after Judge Christine Arguello takes senior status on July 15, 2022. The Biden Administration will review the candidates and decide who to nominate. The Senate will need to confirm the final nominee.

“Due to their compassion, intellect and temperament, all three candidates would make excellent jurists and serve the people of Colorado with integrity,” wrote the senators.

This is the third seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that the senators are working to fill or have filled. In August, President Biden nominated Charlotte Sweeney to fill Judge R. Brooke Jackson’s vacancy on the court. Previously, the senators recommended Regina Rodriguez to fill Judge Marcia Krieger’s vacancy on the court. The president nominated Rodriguez in April and the Senate confirmed her to the position in June. 

More information about each candidate can be found in the senators’ letter to President Biden, available HERE and below.

Dear President Biden:

We write to you regarding the upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Last month, District Court Judge Christine Arguello announced that she will step down as an active judge and take senior status, effective July 15, 2022. We recommend the following three candidates to serve on the Court. Due to their compassion, intellect and temperament, all three candidates would make excellent jurists and serve the people of Colorado with integrity.

Gordon Gallagher

Since 2012, Judge Gallagher has served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. He was unanimously re-appointed to the position in 2016 and 2020. Earlier in his career, Mr. Gallagher served as a Deputy District Attorney for the 21st Judicial District (Mesa County) from 1997-2000. In 2000, he began a criminal defense practice focusing on state court litigation in western Colorado. Mr. Gallagher served as a member of the Grand Valley Task Force’s criminal justice working group where he worked to address systemic bias in the community. Mr. Gallagher also works to provide rehabilitative resources for the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes. In addition, he has worked for over a decade to provide legal representation to indigent defendants as part of the Alternate Defense Counsel (ADC) and served as Chair of the Pro Se Working Group to “investigate and consider how [the District] court can best facilitate pro se access to the court and how pro se cases can be handled in the most efficient and economical fashion.” He graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1991 and obtained his J.D. at the University of Denver College of Law in 1996. 

Kenzo Kawanabe

Mr. Kawanabe is a partner in the Denver law firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs where he focuses on litigation and intellectual property law. He has also served as Pro Bono Partner and represented underfunded school districts and families in a Constitutional education finance case and refugees from Africa. Mr. Kawanabe’s extensive contributions to the community include serving as a board advisor or board member of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, Colorado Legal Services, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. He was the first-ever General Counsel of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Mr. Kawanabe clerked for former Chief Justice Mary J. Mullarkey of the Colorado Supreme Court and is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He obtained his BA from the University of Colorado and his JD from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Kawanabe is a fourth generation Coloradan who grew up in the San Luis Valley, and his grandparents endured after being sent to a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.

Nina Wang

Since 2015, Judge Wang has served as a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. In that capacity, she has presided over civil trials, criminal felony matters, and criminal misdemeanor trials. In addition, she has managed the pretrial process including discovery, and motions practice for Article III judges. Previously, Judge Wang worked in private practice where she specialized in intellectual property law. She also served in the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado. Earlier in her career, Judge Wang clerked for the Honorable Peter Messitte on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. She has taught patent litigation and trial advocacy at the University of Colorado School of Law. She cofounded the Colorado Pro Bono Patent Initiative, previously served as President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, and is the 2015 recipient of the Minoru Yasui Community Service Award. After immigrating from Taiwan as a young child, Judge Wang obtained her A.B. from Washington University and her JD from Harvard Law School.

We are pleased to recommend these outstanding candidates to serve on the U.S. District Court. As the process moves forward, please do not hesitate to follow up with us if you have any questions. 

Sincerely,

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