WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Lara E. Montecalvo’s nomination to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit by a bipartisan vote of 52-47. 

 

Montecalvo, who has led the office of the Rhode Island Public Defender since 2020, was nominated by President Joe Biden in April to fill the vacancy created by Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson announcing her plan to assume “senior status,” which means she will soon begin hearing cases on a more limited basis. 

 

Montecalvo’s nomination received strong backing from U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, who advocated for her confirmation on the Senate floor.

 

“As the state’s public defender, Lara Montecalvo served the people of Rhode Island well.  I am confident she will continue to do so on the federal bench.  She has dedicated her legal career to public service and we are fortunate to have a judge with her expertise and background on one of our nation’s most important courts,” said Senator Reed.

 

“Congratulations to soon-to-be Judge Montecalvo on earning bipartisan approval from the Senate.   She is extremely well-respected in Rhode Island’s legal and law enforcement communities.  I know she will be a strong voice for justice and fairness on the First Circuit,” said Senator Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is based in Boston.  Judges have court chambers in different states and Montecalvo’s chambers will be in Providence, Rhode Island.  The First Circuit hears appeals of federal cases from Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico.  The First Circuit is one of thirteen federal appellate courts that sit one rung below the U.S. Supreme Court. 

 

Montecalvo has over twenty years of legal experience at the state and federal level.  A Swarthmore College graduate who went on to attend Boston College Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2000, Montecalvo worked as a trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice for almost four years, focusing on civil tax matters in federal courts before joining the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office in 2004.  Before being confirmed as the state’s Public Defender, Montecalvo served as Chief of the Appellate Division of the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office.

 

Now that Montecalvo has been confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, she must be sworn in and take the oath of office before she can begin hearing cases.  Once she is sworn in, she will become the First Circuit’s tenth judge, and third Rhode Islander – joining both Bruce M. Selya, who assumed senior status in 2006, and O. Rogeriee Thompson. 

 

The other judges on the First Circuit are: David J. Barron (chief judge), Norman H. Stahl, Sandra L. Lynch, Kermit V. Lipez, Jeffrey R. Howard, William J. Kayatta, Jr., and Gustavo A. Gelpí.