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Fargo lawyer nominated for US attorney post in North Dakota

Republican U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven said they plan to vote for the Democrat.

Mac Schneider visits with supporters after annoucing his intetntion to run as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the Depot in downtown Fargo.David Samson / The Forum
Mac Schneider visits with supporters after announcing his intention to run as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives on March 6, 2018, at the Depot in downtown Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO — Mac Schneider, a Fargo lawyer and Democratic politician, has been asked to lead the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday, Sept. 15, that he nominated Schneider for the post. Schneider’s law firm takes cases on Social Security disabilities, workers’ compensation in Minnesota and personal injuries.

The U.S. Senate must vote to appoint Schneider as U.S. attorney. It’s unclear when that could happen.

Schneider declined to comment, citing the nomination process.

U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven, both Republicans from North Dakota, said they plan to vote to approve Schneider's nomination. They both congratulated the attorney in news releases.

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“This important role ensures adherence to the rule of law and protects the safety and security of our communities,” Cramer said in a statement. “I look forward to getting Mac confirmed as soon as possible.”

Biden’s announcement came alongside two other U.S. attorney nominations, both of which were for districts in Florida. Of the 93 U.S. attorney’s offices across the country, Biden had named 60 long-term appointments as of Thursday.

“These are officials who will be indispensable to upholding the rule of law as top federal law enforcement officials,” the White House said in a news release. “These individuals were chosen for their devotion to enforcing the law, their professionalism, their experience and credentials, their dedication to pursuing equal justice for all, and their commitment to the independence of the Department of Justice.”

Schneider, who played football at the University of North Dakota, represented Grand Forks in the North Dakota Senate from 2008 to 2016 and was the Senate minority leader for the Democratic Party starting in 2013. He lost to Republican Kelly Armstrong in the 2018 U.S. House of Representatives race.

Armstrong's office said he supports Schneider's nomination for U.S. attorney.

If approved by the Senate, Schneider would take over for acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Puhl, the first woman to lead the North Dakota office. She replaced interim U.S. Attorney Nicholas Chase , who left in June after being appointed as a Cass County District Court judge.

Chase took over for U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley in 2021. Wrigley, a Republican, served two stints in the office, first from November 2001 into January 2009 and then again from April 2019 into early 2021.

Wrigley was appointed for his second stint by former President Donald Trump. Biden asked Wrigley and other Republican U.S. attorneys to step down by the end of February 2021.

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Wrigley was appointed to succeed North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem after Stenehjem died unexpectedly in January.

North Dakota's U.S. District Judge Peter Welte appointed both Chase and Puhl to the office, a power afforded to federal judges while presidents consider their nominations.

On Thursday, Wrigley told The Forum he wanted to wait until Schneider is confirmed to comment on the potential appointment.

Former North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon said he was excited for Schneider, adding that the nominee has leadership skills that will serve him well.

"This is a really special day for him and his family," said Purdon, who is also a Democrat.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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