Urbana's newest federal judge is a University of Illinois law school graduate.

The U.S. Senate earlier this week confirmed the nomination of federal prosecutor Colin Bruce to fill a federal judgeship at the Urbana courthouse.

Bruce will replace U.S. Judge Michael McCuskey, who recently made the transition to senior status. After his confirmation, Bruce said that he expects to be sworn in on or about Nov. 1, or as soon as he is "disentangled from all my jobs as first assistant."

Bruce, a veteran prosecutor and a 1989 graduate of the UI's College of Law, is a fine choice for this important position. Recommended by U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin and nominated by President Obama, the U.S. Senate confirmed Bruce's nomination by a unanimous vote.

Because of his current role as a federal prosecutor, Bruce said he will not preside over any criminal cases during his first six months in his new post. Presumably, those cases will continue to be handled by Judge McCuskey.

Bruce said he's humbled by the appointment and hopes to do "as good a job as Judge McCuskey and Judge (Harold) Baker." Like McCuskey, Baker also is on senior status but he carries a heavy workload of almost exclusively civil cases.

In his new role, Bruce will no longer be an advocate arguing a case. Instead, he'll be the impartial arbiter whose job it is to see both sides follow the rules and get a fair shake.

It's big job that carries with it vast power that can be easily abused by jurists who take themselves too seriously and their duty not seriously enough. Given his long resume as a prosecutor and his reputation as an easy-going, fair-minded lawyer, we're confident Bruce, a Savoy resident and the father of two, will be a fine addition to the federal bench.

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