Washington – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) issued the statements below following the Senate’s confirmation of Judge Kate Menendez to serve as a judge on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. Currently serving as a magistrate judge on the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Menendez was recommended by a judicial selection committee comprised of distinguished members of the Minnesota legal community.

“Judge Menendez has dedicated her career to making our state a more just place. Having served for five years as a federal magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, I am confident that her extensive qualifications will make her an excellent U.S. District Court Judge. I fought hard to move her nomination quickly through the Senate, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support for Judge Menendez,” said Klobuchar.

“As a public defender, law professor, and magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Judge Menendez has demonstrated a deep commitment to equal justice,” said Smith. “I am confident she will continue serving Minnesota well on this court.”

Mendenez was appointed to serve as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in 2016. Prior to that, she served as a federal public defender for nearly two decades. She has worked as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School, Hamline University School of Law, and St. Thomas University School of Law. Judge Menendez received her B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago in 1993 and her J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law in 1996. She served as a law clerk for Judge Sam Ervin, III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1996 to 1997.

Menendez was among the candidates recommended by the judicial selection committee, which was chaired by Lolita Ulloa, Deputy Hennepin County Attorney and Director of Domestic Abuse Service Center; with members: David Ackerson, former state court judge on Minnesota’s Sixth Judicial District Court; Amran Farah, attorney at Greene Espel and president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers; Peter Knapp, Interim President and Dean of Mitchell Hamline School of Law; David Lillehaug, Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and a former United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota; Cecil Naatz, Managing Attorney of the Public Defender’s Office in Marshall, Minnesota; Forrest Tahdooahnippah, partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and president of the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association; and Vildan Teske, founding partner of Teske, Micko, Katz, Kitzer & Rochel. 

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