Ms. Strauss, in a statement after the judges’ vote, said she was deeply grateful for the court’s support. She said it was “the privilege of a lifetime” to lead the Southern District’s prosecutors “as they pursue justice without fear or favor and write the latest chapter in this office’s proud legacy.”
Ms. Strauss, a registered Democrat, was named acting U.S. attorney after a dizzying series of events in June. Mr. Trump ousted Mr. Berman after the attorney general, William P. Barr, tried unsuccessfully to persuade Mr. Berman to step aside so one of the administration’s allies could be given the top prosecutor’s job.
Mr. Berman ultimately did not contest his dismissal after Mr. Barr said Ms. Strauss, who had been Mr. Berman’s handpicked deputy, would be given the job on an acting basis. (Mr. Barr said last week said that he planned to resign on Wednesday.)
John S. Martin Jr., a retired federal judge who was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District during the Carter and Reagan administrations, said it was clear the judges concluded that it was appropriate to keep Ms. Strauss who, he said, “has everybody’s respect.”
“They recognized that while it is possible for the president to try to fire her, it does put the imprimatur of the court on her service,” Mr. Martin, a critic of Mr. Trump, added. “It carries with it the prestige of the court.”
Lisa Zornberg, a former chief of the Southern District’s criminal division, said, “It can only be a stabilizing force when the chief judge and the unanimous court endorse Audrey Strauss and appoint her in the way that they have.”
Another former Southern District prosecutor, Jessica A. Roth, who teaches at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, said Ms. Strauss could end up remaining in her post for some time if the Biden administration decides not to move quickly to replace her.