YOUNGSTOWN - As the first black female federal jurist in Ohio, U.S. District Court Judge Benita Y. Pearson said it wouldn’t have happened without those who blazed the trail before her.
“I will carry the torch; I will pick up the mantle,” Judge Pearson said Friday at her swearing-in ceremony at the Butler Institute of American Art on Wick Avenue.
And she also vowed to “be a role model” to those who follow.
Many of the speakers at the ceremony talked about the historic appointment of Judge Pearson, a process that took well over a year.
“It is one more step along the way to have a federal judiciary reflect the face of America,” said retired Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and a Youngstown native who lives in the Cincinnati area. “This is an event so special to me that I was compelled to come and witness the oath being administered and offer my congratulations.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon, recommended Pearson for the judicial job in July 2009. The recommendation came shortly after U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus went to senior status, thus creating an open full-time federal court seat in Youngstown.
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