Charlotte Sweeney – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Colorado Senators have, compared to other states, moved swiftly to recommend candidates for judicial vacancies. With the announcement that Judge Richard Brooke Jackson was moving to senior status in September 2021, recommendations reached the White House swiftly and the White House chose employment attorney Charlotte Sweeney, who has a decent chance of being confirmed in time to replace Jackson as he comes off the bench.

Background

Sweeney received a B.S. from California Lutheran University in 1991 and a J.D. from the Sturm College of Law in 1995. She then joined LaFond & Clausen P.C. as an attorney, with the firm being renamed LaFond & Sweeney in 1998 when she became a partner.

In 2008, the partnership dissolved and Sweeney has been practicing at Sweeney & Bechtold LLC.

History of the Seat

Sweeney has been nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. This seat will open when Judge R. Brooke Jackson moves to senior status on September 30, 2021. Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper recommended Sweeney alongside U.S. Magistrate Judge Nina Wang and commercial attorney Kenzo Kawanabe on May 30, 2021. Sweeney was nominated for the vacancy on August 5, 2021.

Legal Experience

Sweeney has spent virtually her entire career as an employment attorney, primarily representing plaintiffs alleging violations of Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, and other discrimination statutes.

Among the more notable cases she has handled, Sweeney represented Edward Garcia, a funeral home employee, who alleged that the home discriminated against him based on gender and national origin by promoting a “less-qualified” woman to a manager role that he wanted. See Pueblo, Colo. Funeral Home Worker Settles Reverse-Discrimination Suit, The Pueblo Chieftain, Dec. 31, 1999. She also represented United employee Glenn Cox who claimed that he was fired for being a whistleblower regarding the company’s failure to enforce size restrictions on baggage. See Former United Employee Sues Over Firing, A.P. State & Local Wire, Sept. 15, 2000.

In other matters, Sweeney secured a $64,000 settlement for Boulder Parks & Recreation worker Sally Deitrich, who alleged that she was discriminated against after revealing that she recently married her wife. See Alex Burness, Boulder to Pay $64K Settlement to Lesbian Ex-Employee Who Alleged Discrimination, Colorado Daily, June 24, 2016.

Sweeney, notably, was also a litigant in a suit against former law partner Richard LaFond seeking a portion of a contingent fee arrangement upon dissolution of the partnership. See LaFond v. Sweeney, 343 P.3d 939 (Colo. 2015). The suit made its way to the Colorado Supreme Court, which held that Sweeney was entitled to a portion of the fee recovered. See id. at 941.

Overall Assessment

Biden’s first nominee to a Colorado vacancy, Regina Rodriguez was confirmed with bipartisan support. While Sweeney may draw more opposition than Rodriguez did, she is still unlikely to draw enough rancor to threaten her nomination and should be confirmed in the fall. Her confirmation would make Sweeney the first openly LGBT federal judge in Colorado.

12 Comments

  1. It is my understanding that Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper changed their commission for vetting judicial nominees after the progressive uproar due to Reginia Rodriguez being nominated again.

    It seems the new commission produced a younger (Although I still wish a Democrat president could nominate somebody in their 40’s like Trump’s nominee) & more progressive. Good job & other Democrats need to take a look at their commissions to make sure we are giving President Biden young progressive nominees (I’m looking at your New Jersey).

    Like

    • I didn’t know they picked new members for their commission, I just assumed that the commission was told to recommend better nominees.

      Biden needs to just reject the nominees from the NJ senators. Robert Menendez is a crook who belongs in prison and should have been expelled from the Senate. So I expect nothing useful from him.

      So yeah the progressive senators should vote down O’Hearn and the Biden admin should tell Cory Booker to form his own committee and recommend better nominees.

      Like

  2. Yea they announced a new committee on on March 19th & even announced who was on the committee which isn’t done nation wide. By the way & I think President Biden should insist on all committee members being made public, even if its after recommendations have been made.

    I’ll put the link below for you…

    As for New Jersey, I am really awaiting to see the final two picks for the district court vacancies. Senator Menendez definitely has a shady past when it comes to nominees for Democrat president’s even dating back to President Obama (Patty Schwartz). I don’t think they can cut him completely out of the process (Particularly in a 50/50 senate). I would just work around his horrible track record & tell him The White House needs at least 10 recommendations for every vacancy. Out of the we should be able to get at least two good nominees even from him.

    https://www.coloradopolitics.com/courts/bennet-hickenlooper-form-selection-committee-for-federal-court-vacancy/article_05b4c3ae-88f9-11eb-aec1-6b42abfbfb31.html

    Like

      • Judge Christine Arguello just announced she will retire on her birthday next July 15, 2022. This will give President Biden a chance to flip a GW Bush appointee (Even though Christine Arguello is actually a Democrat & was originally a Clinton appointee who was part of a package seal since she never got a vote).

        Lets see if President Biden goes with Nina Y. Wang or Kenzo Kawanabe who were the other two recommendations for the seat Charlotte N. Sweeney was just nominated for. I wouldn’t mind the commission going back to the drawing board as I think we could get a younger & more progressive nominee then those two, albeit both of them see well qualified if chosen.

        Like

  3. For the Arguello seat, the committee should go back to the drawing board and find a new nominee. Nina Y. Wang or Kenzo Kawanabe are not horrible in the way that Regina Rodriguez was, but we can do far better.

    Like

    • I agree. Sadly Christine Arguello is probably the best judge on that court & she was appointed by Bush. She’s actually younger then all three of Obama’s appointees. After Regina Rodriguez, Charlotte Sweeney is the first nominee I would have considered based on background & age.

      This will likely be the last vacancy during Biden’s term on this court so they should find a progressive young rock star to set up for a future tenth circuit elevation.

      Like

  4. Pingback: Where We Stand: Assessing Vacancies and Nominations in the Federal Judiciary – The West | The Vetting Room

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s