The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination by President Joe Biden of former Grant County Superior Court Judge David Estudillo to a vacancy on the U.S. District Court bench in Tacoma.

Estudillo will replace U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton, who assumed senior status in 2019, and will maintain chambers in the U.S. District Courthouse in the historic and ornate Union Station in downtown Tacoma, according to a news release from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Estudillo, who was born in Sunnyside, Yakima County, is the ninth child of immigrants from Mexico. He worked as an immigration attorney and civil litigator in Moses Lake and later at the Seattle firm of Scheer and Zehnder, where he focused on complex civil litigation. He is a 1999 graduate of the University of Washington Law School and received a bachelor’s degree from UW in 1996.

Estudillo, who speaks Spanish, routinely provided free legal advice to Spanish-speaking immigrants in removal proceedings in immigration court in Tacoma and Seattle, according to a 9th Circuit news release.

He was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to the Grant County Superior Court bench in 2015 and elected to the position in 2016 and 2020. Biden nominated him to fill one of four judicial vacancies in the Western District of Washington earlier this year.

Estudillo appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in June, which sent his nomination to the full Senate in July. At the time of his nomination, Estudillo was serving as president of the Washington State Superior Court Judge’s Association and was chair of the association’s Rural Courts Committee.

Federal judges are authorized under Article III of the U.S. Constitution. They are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate to lifetime appointments.