The White House announced four new nominations to fill vacancies across New York’s federal court system late on Wednesday, including two elevations to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
President Donald Trump named U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco of the Eastern District of New York and Consovoy McCarthy Park name attorney Michael Park as his picks to fill the two remaining vacancies on the appellate court.
Bianco was first nominated to the federal bench in Brooklyn by President George W. Bush in 2006, after serving as deputy assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice for the previous two years under Attorney General John Ashcroft.
A Queens native, Bianco graduated from Columbia Law School in 1991. After working as an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, Bianco joined the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1994. He remained with the office under U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White for nearly a decade, rising to become chief of the office’s organized crime and terrorism unit in the aftermath of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2003, he departed SDNY for a brief stint as counsel with Debevoise & Plimpton.
In a statement, White, herself a partner at Debevoise, praised Bianco.
“Judge Bianco is an extraordinary judge, lawyer and person of fairness and principle,” White said. “He is smart, hard-working and has devoted his professional life to public service for all of the right reasons. He will be a great addition to the Second Circuit.”
Unlike Bianco, Park’s confirmation would elevate an attorney from private practice straight to the appellate bench, while also adding a degree of diversity with the addition of another Asian-American to the court.
As a litigator, Park has handled a range of securities and other white-collar litigation, including matters brought by the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Among active litigation, Park represents a nonprofit group seeking amicus standing in New York state’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s attempt to ask about immigration status in the next census. Park’s client, the Project on Fair Representation, has filed an amicus motion in support of the federal government’s attempt to dismiss the suit.
A graduate of Yale Law School, Park clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito during his time on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He also served during the Bush administration as an attorney-adviser in the DOJ’s office of legal counsel before joining Dechert in 2012 as partner.
Park did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s other two nominations would fill vacancies in the Southern and Northern districts of New York.
Collier Halpern & Newberg name attorney Philip Halpern was nominated to the bench in Manhattan. A veteran civil litigator in White Plains, Halpern lays claim to over 90 reported decisions in state and federal court cases over three decades of practice.
Halpern also has ties to local political officials. He represented former Republican Westchester County executive Rob Astorino in a 2017 lawsuit against New York state over plans to close the Indian Point nuclear power facility. Astorino dropped the lawsuit after losing his re-election bid last November.
According to the state’s campaign finance database, Halpern donated $2,250 to Astorino’s campaign in 2015. He also donated $2,500 in 2011 to former Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, a Republican turned Democrat who is now the state’s chief judge.
Halpern did not respond to a request for comment.
Cohoes City Court Judge Thomas Marcelle was nominated by Trump for a position on the Northern District Court’s bench. Marcelle was appointed to the local court by the town’s mayor, Democrat Shawn Morse, in 2016. Before that Marcelle served in a number of positions in the county for both sides of the aisle.
For a decade beginning in 2001, Marcelle served as counsel to the GOP minority in the Albany County Legislature, while maintaining his own private practice in the county. In 2012, he became county attorney for Albany under County Executive Dan McCoy, which was opposed by some LGBT activists over Marcelle’s ties to the conservative activist organization Alliance Defense Fund, now known as the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Marcelle later served as counsel to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
A graduate of Cornell Law School, Marcelle’s federal experience includes a stint after law school as a trial attorney for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.
Reached by phone, Marcelle told the New York Law Journal that he was deeply honored by the nomination, and that he looked forward to going through the U.S. Senate’s confirmation process.