President Barack Obama has nominated Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni to fill a U.S. District Court vacancy.
A longtime western Massachusetts attorney with both criminal defense and prosecution experience Mastroianni has served just three years in his current position. He won his first political race in an upset as an independent to become Hampden County D.A.
Mastroianni is nominated to replace U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor, the Springfield federal judge who took senior status, essentially cutting his hours back, in 2010. Ponsor has said publicly that he hoped his decision would give President Obama time to find someone to fill his shoes. Ponsor has described the court in western Massachusetts as smaller than some other states, but still busy.
In addition to Mastroianni, President Obama nominated Harvard law professor David Barron to serve for the U.S. Court of Appeals. Barron is married to democratic gubernatorial candiate Juliette Kayyem. The nominations now head to the Senate Judiciary Committee.