The Honorable Richard Durbin
Senate Judiciary Committee
Dear Chairman Durbin:
On behalf of the Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a national association representing over 120 public interest and civil rights organizations, I write to strongly support the confirmation of Judge Gustavo A. Gelpí, Jr. to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Gelpí to the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico in 2006 and his long legal career both on and off the bench is a testament to his commitment to equal justice for all and safeguarding our constitutional rights, especially for the people of Puerto Rico.
Judge Gelpí was born in San Juan and has spent his life in Puerto Rico, except for his education at Brandeis University where he earned his B.A. and Suffolk University Law School where he earned his J.D. in 1991. After graduating from law school, Judge Gelpí returned home to clerk for Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez on the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Judge Gelpí’s record of public service is extensive. Following his federal clerkship, he represented low-income criminal defendants before the First Circuit Court of Appeals as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Puerto Rico. And at the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, he served as special aide to the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Legal Counsel, and ultimately, as Solicitor General of Puerto Rico. Judge Gelpí also worked as special litigation counsel at McConnell Valdes, one of the largest Hispanic-owned law firms in the world.
Judge Gelpí was appointed as a Magistrate Judge for the District of Puerto Rico in 2001 and served in that role until he was nominated to be a District Court judge in 2006. His 20 years on the federal bench demonstrate his commitment to our constitutional values and consistent application of the law. Judge Gelpí’s wealth of experience as lawyer working for the public interest, especially as a public defender, will make him an excellent addition to the First Circuit.
Judge Gelpí is eminently qualified, and the Senate should unanimously confirm him to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Court.