FARGO — A group of former Democratic senators have sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging that he appoint lawyer Mac Schneider as U.S. attorney for the district of North Dakota.
Heidi Heitkamp, Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, who all represented North Dakota in the U.S. Senate, drafted a letter dated Tuesday, Feb. 2, saying Schneider, a personal injury attorney in Fargo, is highly qualified to serve as the state's next U.S. attorney.
"Now more than ever our country needs honest, steady and fair leaders in our Department of Justice and Mac is exactly the kind of leader this moment in our country requires," the senators wrote.
Presidents often appoint replacements for U.S. attorneys after a new administration takes office. However, Republican Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer have asked that Biden allow Drew Wrigley to keep his position as North Dakota's current U.S. attorney.
Wrigley was first appointed U.S. attorney in 2001 before leaving office in 2009. He served as North Dakota's lieutenant governor from 2010 to 2016 before returning to the U.S. attorney role in 2019.
Last month, The Forum asked Schneider about the prospect of becoming North Dakota's U.S. attorney. He said he had not been asked by anyone to take the position but that he would be honored to do so if nominated.
“If the president of the United States asks you to serve in that capacity, of course, the answer would be yes,” he said at the time.
On Wednesday, Schneider said he was honored to have the support of the former senators. "I read the letter this morning, and it's extraordinarily humbling to have their backing," he said, noting that he has not yet been in touch with the Biden administration.
Schneider has worked closely with Wrigley throughout his career, starting when Wrigley hired him as an extern to work in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the summer of 2006.
"I consider Drew a friend and a mentor," Schneider said, adding that North Dakota's U.S. Attorney Office "has a tradition that as administrations change, the professionalism and the commitment to justice and the quality of the legal work that comes out of that office, that doesn't change. Whoever the next U.S. attorney is would be well served to uphold that nonpartisan tradition."
Schneider graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2002 where he was co-captain of the football team. He received his law degree from Georgetown University in 2008 and moved back to North Dakota to run his family's law practice.
While running the practice, he was elected to the North Dakota Senate in 2009 as a Democrat representing Grand Forks and served until 2016 when he was voted out. At the time of Schneider's departure he was serving as the Senate minority leader.
After his election loss, he moved to Fargo to manage his family law firm — Schneider Law. In 2018, Schneider made an unsuccessful bid for North Dakota's lone U.S. House seat, losing to Kelly Armstrong.
The Schneider Law Firm handles a range of litigation, including Social Security disability benefits, employment law and class action. The firm's website says Schneider provides a "North Dakota nice" approach when dealing with clients.
The former senators said in their letter to Biden that Schneider's character fits the position.
"Mac lives his life and values to both the letter and spirit of the law. He is a man of deep integrity who values service to his state and his country above all else. Mac would make an exceptional United States Attorney and would serve the role with honor and distinction," the senators wrote.