Obama nominates Marietta Robinson for CPSC

January 23, 2012

President Obama has nominated Marietta S. Robinson, a trial lawyer in Michigan, to serve on the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

If approved by the Senate, Robinson will fill the seat vacated by Democrat Thomas H. Moore and enable Democrats to regain control of the five-member commission, which oversees the safety of roughly 15,000 everyday consumer household products, from toys to table saws.

Moore’s departure left the commission evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, raising the specter of gridlock on a panel that’s been engaged in fierce partisan sniping since Congress adopted legislation in 2008 empowering the agency to become more aggressive in ensuring the safety of children’s products in particular.

“I’m very, very honored to be nominated, and I hope to get through Senate confirmation quickly,” Robinson said in an interview.

Robinson was described by one Michigan newspaper as a “feisty” trial lawyer. During her 33 years in practice, she has worked for a number of law firms and represented both plaintiffs and defendants. Most recently, she has specialized in medical malpractice.

She served eight years as a federally appointed trustee of the Dalkon Shield Trust, which paid out $2.5 billion to women who had used the contraceptive, the White House said in a statement.

In Michigan’s political circles, Robinson is a familiar face. She lost her bid as the Democratic nominee for the Michigan Supreme Court in 2000 and tried to get the nomination again in 2002 but dropped her bid before the convention.

In June, the Detroit News reported that Robinson was being vetted by the FBI for a U.S. District Court opening. She was married to James K. Robinson, a former U.S. attorney in Detroit, dean of the the Wayne State University Law School and assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division in the Justice Department, the News said. He died in August 2010.

Dina ElBoghdady covers housing policy for The Washington Post.
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