April Perry’s nomination to be Chicago’s top U.S. attorney is a historic first

Many former federal prosecutors who served in that office, including me, believe it was high time, if not long overdue, for a woman or minority to be nominated for the top post in the Northern District of Illinois, a former federal prosecutor writes.

SHARE April Perry’s nomination to be Chicago’s top U.S. attorney is a historic first
April Perry

April Perry

Provided

It was notable to me that reporters Jon Seidel and Lynn Sweet’s article exclusively (and appropriately) quoted some of Chicago’s best women lawyers about the selection of their former colleague April Perry to be the first woman U.S. attorney in Chicago.

Apart from Morris Pasqual’s current service as acting U.S. attorney, Perry’s likely confirmation (notwithstanding Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance’s vow to block all Justice Department nominees) will end the succession of presidentially-appointed white men since Augustus M. Herrington first held the post in 1857.

Like Perry, the three women quoted — Nancy DePodesta, Julie Porter and Megan Church —come from a talented pool of alumni from that office, who, along with many minority women and men, including finalist Sergio Acosta, would be honorable stewards of the office’s prestigious legacy and reputation.

Perry has big shoes to fill in succeeding John Lausch, who admirably demonstrated his mettle time and again over five years, but her legal stature more than compensates for her smaller shoe size.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

Many former federal prosecutors who served in that office, including me, believe it was high time, if not long overdue, for a woman or minority to be nominated for the top post in recognition of the diversity of the 9.3 million residents of the 18-county Northern District of Illinois, whom the office serves.

Fortunately, the ranks of assistant U.S. attorneys for decades have reflected the district’s diversity in numbers significantly greater than the demographics of many large law firms and other public sector law offices, creating a deep roster of highly qualified women and minorities who, hopefully someday, may also be considered as future U.S. attorneys.

Perry’s selection should be hailed as an historic first, but it will take on even greater significance if we can ensure that she is not the last.

Randall Samborn, Glenview
Former assistant U.S. attorney and public information officer, Northern District of Illinois, 1995-2015

Time for zero emissions trucks in Illinois

With the city recently labeled as having the worst air quality in the world, many Chicagoans donned masks for the first time since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Illinois has no control over wildfires in another country, it is fair to question why the state continues to ignore those actions within its control that will significantly improve air quality.

For over two years, public health and environmental advocates have been urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to adopt advanced clean trucks and heavy-duty omnibus rules for Illinois. These rules will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions in Illinois.

The National Resources Defense Council projects adoption of these rules will result in 765 fewer premature deaths, 874 fewer hospital visits from breathing polluted air, and 481,090 fewer cases of acute bronchitis, exacerbated asthma, and other respiratory symptoms causing restricted activity and lost workdays.

For reasons he has chosen not to articulate, Pritzker has ignored our pleas and so today we find ourselves faced with a serious problem made worse by Illinois’ own inaction.

Illinois residents deserve to breathe clean air. With vehicles now being the number one source of air pollution in Illinois, our leaders must start prioritizing the health of its residents.

The governor has the ability, with the stroke of a pen, to make that happen by making vehicle manufactures sell more clean and zero-emission vehicles right here in Illinois.

Erica Salem, MPH, senior director of strategy, programs and policy
Respiratory Health Association

The Latest
The girl was crossing the street with two women in the 9500 block of South Paxton Avenue about 8:40 p.m. July 18 when the driver drove through a red light and struck her. The girl was injured.
Police say a tree trimmer was shot and wounded and a man barricaded himself in his home in the 800 block of South Braintree Drive about 2:50 p.m. Wednesday. He surrendered without incident Wednesday evening.
Unbearable 14th century Italians flee deadly disease in Netflix series that’s not as edgy as it thinks it is.
The 40-year friendship of its central figures (played by Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Megan Mullally and Sheryl Lee Ralph) is barely explored in a comedy more focused on wild hijinks.