Veronica Rossman ’97 Confirmed to Tenth Circuit

Update: On Sept. 20, 2021, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Veronica S. Rossman ’97 as a judge on the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She is the first federal defender to serve in that position.

July 23, 2021 — Veronica S. Rossman ’97 is poised to serve as a judge on the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced her nomination last week, the last step before Senate confirmation.

When President Joe Biden nominated Rossman in May, he highlighted her background as an immigrant and a federal defender. She has spent most of her career serving as a federal public defender.

“The UC Hastings community is extraordinarily excited about the pending appointment,” Dean David Faigman said. “She brings a broad and deep skill set to her new position, whether from her experience as Senior Counsel in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the districts of Colorado and Wyoming or as Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly. We couldn’t be more proud.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 220 national organizations, expressed support for Rossman’s nomination, citing her record of defending the Constitution by protecting the civil rights of her clients.

“Her expertise defending the rights of the people most marginalized by the criminal-legal system, particularly those who cannot afford an attorney, will make her an asset to our federal judiciary,” the conference wrote in a June 8 letter to the Senate. The letter noted that former prosecutors outnumber former criminal defense attorneys by a four-to-one margin on the federal bench.

Rossman also brings a unique personal perspective, the letter noted, having emigrated to the U.S. as a young child with her family fleeing antisemitic persecution in Moscow.

After law school, Rossman clerked for Justice A. William Maupin of the Supreme Court of Nevada and was a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster. She also worked as a staff attorney for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and as a visiting professor at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law before joining the public defender’s office. From 2010 to 2017, she handled and supervised appeals. Since 2017, she has been senior counsel to the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the districts of Colorado and Wyoming.

According to the Biographical Directory of Article III Federal Judges, Melvin T. Brunetti ’64 served on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Seventeen alumni have served at the federal district judge level.

“It is an honor,” Rossman said, “to be going through this process as a Hastings Law graduate.”