The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington is poised to get a new judge, with the Biden Administration putting forward the nomination of Judge Mary Katherine Dimke to fill a vacancy that’ll open on the court in October.
Mary Katherine Dimke received her B.A. magna cum laude from Pepperdine University in 1999 and a J.D. from Vanderbily University Law School in 2000. Dimke then clerked for Judge Alan Johnson on the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming and then clerked for Judge Richard Tallman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
After her clerkships, Dimke joined the Department of Justice Honors Program and worked in the Criminal Division. In 2008, Dimke became a federal prosecutor in Washington.
In 2016, Dimke was appointed to be a federal magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, where she currently serves.
History of the Seat
Dimke has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. This seat will open on October 1, 2021, when Judge Rosanna Peterson moves to senior status.
Before becoming a judge, Dimke worked for the federal government for twelve years, moving from the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice to the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington. During her time at the offices, Dimke worked primarily on fraud and corruption prosecutions.
Among her most significant cases, Dimke prosecuted Christian Sapsizian, an Alcatel executive, for paying $2.5 million in bribes to Costa Rican officials in order to obtain a government contract. Sapsizian ended up pleading guilty to two counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Similarly, while with the Western District of Washington, Dimke prosecuted Eddie Goodridge, the executive director of the Stillaguamish Indian tribe, for conspiring to sell contraband cigarettes. See Lynn Thompson, Tribal Head Pleads Guilty to Cigarette Trafficking, Seattle Times, Nov. 21, 2008. Dimke also prosecuted co-conspirators Carol Silverman and Rick Conn, among others, for the same scheme. Additionally, Dimke prosecuted conspirators who faked the origin of imported Chinese honey to avoid tariffs. See Tim Klass, Prosecutors Say Men Lied About Source of Honey, A.P. State & Local Wire, May 7, 2009.
Since 2016, Dimke has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Washington. In this role, Dimke presides over settlement, preliminary hearings, bail, and any cases where the parties consent to his jurisdiction.
Among the notable matters she has handled, Dimke affirmed the denial of social security benefits for Clarinda Gopher, finding that the ALJ did not err in holding that Ms. Gopher did not suffer from disabling symptoms. See Gopher v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 281 F. Supp. 3d 1102 (E.D. Wash. 2017).
So far, the Biden nominees who have attracted the most controversy have generally come from criminal defense or civil rights backgrounds. As a former government attorney with five years as a judge under her belt, Dimke should be deemed a relatively uncontroversial choice for the federal bench.