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Changes underway on North Region bench – Chicago Tribune

The United States Senate recently confirmed two judges to the federal bench in Hammond and appointed 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 is hearing cases in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

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

Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, praised Kolar’s military background when speaking in support of Kolar at his Senate confirmation hearing in September.

“In his service both in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and on the bench, Judge Kolar has proven to be a highly respected and dedicated public servant,” Young said. “I am proud to help nominate him through the Senate and look forward to his service.”

St. 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. Springmann received senior status in January 2021, citing a reduced caseload, while DeGuilio announced senior status in July 2023.

Brisco will be the first Black female judge to serve on the Northern District bench.

Brisco is a graduate of Andrean High School, and both judges have ties to Valparaiso University; Brisco completed his bachelor’s degree in history from VU in 2002, and Lund graduated from VU’s Faculty of Law in 2001.

“Judge Brisco and Judge Lund are experienced, qualified lawyers who have served honorably on state supreme courts,” Young said at the confirmation hearing. “They will be missed locally, but I believe they will bring the same sense of professionalism to the federal bench. I am proud to help get them nominated through the Senate and look forward to their service.”

The justices will have public appointment ceremonies at some point, but a date has not yet been set.

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