WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and George V. Voinovich (R-OH) announced today that they will recommend that President Obama nominate U.S. Magistrate Judge Benita Pearson to fill the vacancy on the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. 

“I’m pleased to recommend Judge Pearson for the Federal District Court for Ohio’s Northern District,” Sen. Brown said. “Her background as a prosecutor, private practice attorney, certified public accountant, and Magistrate makes Judge Pearson uniquely qualified to serve as a Federal District Judge.”

“I am confident in the Commission’s process and recommendation,” Sen. Voinovich said. “I believe Judge Pearson has the impartiality, legal expertise and judicial temperament to serve the Northern District of Ohio with integrity.”

“I am humbled and honored to be recommended by Senators Brown and Voinovich to serve as an Article III Judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio,” Judge Pearson said. “Should I be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to sitting in Youngstown and becoming a part of that community.  I know that there were other very strong candidates contending for this honor; I am very grateful that the Senators have decided to recommend me to President Obama.  I will do everything in my power to deserve this high honor.”

Judge Pearson was selected as a Magistrate by the Northern District Court in 2008.  In that position, she has overseen a range of federal judicial proceedings, including jury trials, bail hearings, preliminary examinations, and search warrants.  Prior to her selection as a Magistrate, Judge Pearson served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio and as an associate with Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Cleveland

The nomination is based on the recommendation of a 17-member judicial advisory commission assembled by Brown and Voinovich. To prevent any potential conflicts of interest, commission members residing in the Southern District of Ohio screened applicants for the Northern District.

“Judge Pearson began her career in business and then, after studying law, served as a federal judicial law clerk, an attorney in a private civil practice, a federal prosecutor, and a federal magistrate judge,” said Nancy Rogers, who chaired the commission. “This is a strong background for a U.S. District Judge.  Judge Pearson has demonstrated throughout her career the integrity, intellect, judgment, and dedication to serve with distinction. It is impressive that Senators Brown and Voinovich jointly created a merit-based review process for this important nomination.”
U.S. District Court judges are nominated by the president of the United States and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. District Courts are general trials courts that hear both civil and criminal cases.

If nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Pearson will replace Judge Peter C. Economus, who took senior status on July 3, 2009.

The Northern District has court locations in Cleveland, Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown and serves 5.9 million citizens in 40 Ohio counties. The Northern District commission was chaired by Nancy Rogers of Columbus. Ms. Rogers is a former Ohio Attorney General and former dean of the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. Other commission members included Robin Bozian, of Marietta, an attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services; Donald Brey, of Columbus, a partner at Chester, Wilcox & Saxbe; Al Gerhardstein, of Cincinnati, a partner at Gerhardstein & Branch; Sean Grayson, of Dayton, General Counsel to AFSCME Ohio Council 8; Ralph Harper, of Dayton, former Green County commissioner; Dave Hobson, of Springfield, a former Representative of Ohio’s 7th Congressional district; Nathaniel Jones, of Cincinnati, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Blank Rome and former member of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; Ralph Kohnen, of Cincinnati, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister; John Kulewicz, of Columbus, a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, & Pease; Greg Lockhart, of Dayton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Roderick McDavis, of Athens, president of Ohio University; Jill Meyer, of Cincinnati, member-in-charge of Frost Brown Todd’s Cincinnati office; Alvarene Owens, of Dayton, an independent practitioner specializing in civil claims; Elizabeth Smith, of Columbus, a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour, & Pease; Susan Tomasky, of Columbus, Executive Vice-President and General Counsel to American Electric Power; Kurtis Tunnell, of Columbus, administrative partner at Bricker & Eckler.