WASHINGTON, D.C. – Due to a scheduled vote in Washington, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today delivered remarks by video during the investiture ceremony for Judge Stephanie Rose. Harkin recommended Rose for the Southern District position to replace Judge Robert Pratt as he takes senior status. Following is the text of Harkin’s remarks, as prepared for delivery.
“Judge Rose, family and friends, Attorney General Holder, distinguished jurists and members of the Bar:
I deeply regret that Senate business in Washington prevents me from attending the investiture today. It is always a pleasure to celebrate the accomplishments of dedicated public servants, and Judge Rose I look forward to congratulating you in person in the near future. I am particularly honored to be part of this ceremony celebrating the first woman confirmed to the bench in Iowa’s Southern District. This is a long overdue historic achievement for our state.
“I first want to acknowledge the enormous contributions of the person whose seat you are taking, my friend, Judge Robert Pratt. Judge Pratt has been an outstanding jurist who has brought a genuine passion and leadership for justice to Iowa and the country.
“During Judge Pratt’s tenure as U.S. District Court Judge, he has written many decisions, which have transformed the law for the better, for our entire nation. There are many I could cite, but two stand out for the beauty and force of his writing, and for their impact on our nation’s jurisprudence: the Prison Fellowship Ministries case and the decision regarding sentencing guidelines in the Gall case. The Gall case gave to judges the power to weigh different factors in determining fair and just sentences, as opposed to some mechanical formula. In other words, judges should judge! And I hope, Judge Rose, you will learn from Judge Pratt’s experience, wisdom, and compassion.
“Judge Rose, it was my great honor to recommend you to President Obama for this position, as I also recommended you for the position of U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, a position you fulfilled admirably. Given your experience, intelligence and integrity, citizens of Iowa can be confident that you will be a superb judge and your career on the bench will be one of distinction.
“There is no question you possess the legal skills and knowledge necessary to excel in this critical position. More important to me, however, you have a deep commitment to the highest principles embodied in our Constitution and a great sense of justice and fairness. Our jurists have a great responsibility to ensure and protect these important principles and I have no doubt that you are more than deserving of the trust being placed in you. I am confident you will make a lasting contribution towards making our state and our nation more just and more fair.
“Ruth joins me in congratulating you and extending our best wishes to you and to your family for continued success and happiness.”