Former Grand Forks County State's Attorney Peter Welte is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday for a confirmation hearing on a federal judgeship.

Welte would replace Judge Ralph Erickson, who was appointed to serve on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2018.

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Welte served as state's attorney for 13 years until 2015 and has spent the last four years practicing criminal defense and agricultural law at Vogel Law Firm in Grand Forks.

He was nominated to the federal judgeship by President Donald Trump last month. Welte is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday afternoon for confirmation as a U.S. District Court judge.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said Welte is "an excellent nominee with the right background and credentials to effectively serve North Dakotans from the federal branch."

Cramer called for reform of the Senate nomination process in a statement, but said he expects Welte to win support during Wednesday's hearing.

"Too often senators-under the cloak of anonymity-stall the nominations of qualified candidates for reasons they'll only discuss behind closed doors. That has to change," Cramer said. "While I respect the important institutional role the Senate plays, the world's greatest deliberative body needs to get better at deliberating. I will continue working with my colleagues to reform the way we handle nominations."