President Obama Friday picked New Haven’s top City Hall attorney, Victor Bolden, to become a judge for the U.S. District Court of Connecticut.
The surprise announcement came late Friday afternoon.
“I am honored to put forward these highly qualified candidates for the federal bench,” President Obama said in a press release announcing five nominees for various federal judge positions. “They will be distinguished public servants and valuable additions to the United States District Courts.”
Obama’s nominees will need to be confirmed by Congress.
Bolden (pictured above) has served New Haven city government as corporation counsel since 2009. Before that, he worked for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. He served as general counsel from 2005 to 2009 and assistant counsel from 1994 to 2000, according to a White House press release. From 2000 to 2005, Bolden worked at the New Haven-based law firm Wiggin & Dana, doing commercial litigation. He began his legal career at the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in 1989. Bolden got a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1989 and an B.A. from Columbia University in 1986.
As corporation counsel, Bolden calmly oversaw matters of great controversy, including the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination lawsuit, which landed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Bolden settled the case with disgruntled firefighters after justices ruled in their favor.
In City Hall, Bolden boosted morale by bringing cake to staffers every Friday.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro commended his nomination.
“Victor is a deep believer in the rule of law and would make a fine, impartial judge for all Connecticut residents,” DeLauro said in a release. “He has served the City of New Haven ably for the last five years and has a deep reservoir of both professional experience and civic involvement to draw on in his deliberations. Victor understands the impact the law has on people. I fully support his nomination and urge the Senate to swiftly take up his nomination and confirm this man who serves his community with great distinction.”
“Victor Bolden is a top-notch attorney, a dedicated public servant, and has been among City Hall’s greatest assets for many years,” Mayor Toni Harp said in another press statement. “As mayor, I have quickly come to admire his ability to manage multiple and complex legal matters and concurrently
administer the city’s Office of Corporation Counsel.”
“Victor Bolden has the intellect, integrity and life experience that will make him a judge of courage and compassion,” said U.S. Sens. Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy in a joint release. “He will also help address a workload and backlog that requires more judges as soon as possible. Our hope is that he will be confirmed promptly, without partisan contention, as befits his exemplary qualifications.”
Bolden could not be reached for comment.