Changes afoot on the Northern District bench – Chicago Tribune

The United States Senate recently confirmed two judges destined for the federal bench in Hammond and elevated a third to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Northern District Magistrate Judge Joshua P. Kolar was confirmed Tuesday after being nominated to serve as a federal appellate judge. The Seventh Circuit considers cases from Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Kolar, a Northwestern Law graduate, served as an assistant United States attorney in the Northern District of Indiana from 2007-2018. He succeeded retiring federal magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry in 2019.

Senator Todd Young, R-Indiana, touted Kolar’s military background when he spoke in support of Kolar at his Senate confirmation hearing in September.

“In both his service in the U.S. Navy Reserves and on the bench, Judge Kolar has proven to be a highly respected and dedicated public servant,” Young said. “I am proud to have helped shepherd his nomination through the Senate and look forward to his service.”

St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge Cristal Brisco, a Gary native, and Elkhart County Superior Court Judge Gretchen Lund were confirmed by the Senate last week to replace two retiring judges in Hammond — U.S. District Judges Theresa Springmann and Jon DeGuilio, respectively. Springmann took senior status, indicating a reduced caseload, in January 2021, while DeGuilio announced his senior status in July 2023.

Brisco will become the first Black woman judge to serve on the Northern District bench.

Brisco is a graduate of Andrean High School, and both judges have Valparaiso University ties, with Brisco completing her undergraduate degree in history from VU in 2002 and Lund graduating from VU’s School of Law in 2001.

“Judge Brisco and Judge Lund are experienced, qualified jurists who have served honorably in state superior courts,” said Young at their confirmation hearing. “They will be missed locally, but I trust they will bring the same sense of professionalism to the federal bench. I am proud to have helped shepherd their nominations through the Senate and look forward to their service.”

The judges will have public investiture ceremonies at some point, but no date has been set.

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