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Sen. Kirk makes first judicial recommendation: John Tharp

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Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) made his first federal judicial recommendation on Tuesday, Mayer Brown's John Tharp, a former prosecutor. Kirk and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have a power sharing arrangement (Illinois senators have done versions of this deal for years) where the senator of the party in control of the White House does not hog all the judicial appointments. Kirk and Durbin are continuing a 3:1 ratio, with the party in power getting most of the picks. This system means that in the federal courts in Illinois, judges won't be picked just from one party.

For more on Tharp, click below....

below, from Sen. Mark Kirk....

With public integrity at the forefront of Illinois' consciousness, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today recommended former prosecutor John Tharp of Chicago for appointment to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Under Senate tradition for Illinois, the senator from the party not in control of the White House generally makes nomination recommendations to the White House for one federal district court judgeship for every three of the party in power. Under that tradition, this is the first recommendation by Senator Kirk. Senators Kirk and Durbin have consulted regarding each other's recommendations and will work to secure prompt confirmation of nominees. This arrangement is intended to ensure the orderly filling of federal judge vacancies on the Illinois bench.

Sen. Kirk formed a bipartisan, statewide Judicial Review Advisory Board in February. The Advisory Board was charged with identifying "the strongest applicants from Illinois for consideration by the President and U.S. Senate." Chaired by Peter Baugher of Schopf & Weiss LLP, the 14-member Advisory Board received nearly 50 applications. The Advisory Board spent over 300 man hours and met five times to review judicial candidates and their backgrounds. The Advisory Board's review process included personal interviews as well as calls to colleagues, opposing counsel and judges.

Today's announcement is the result of that process. Advisory Board members were: Peter Baugher, Chair (Schopf & Weiss LLP), Wayne Andersen (former federal judge), Keith Beyler (SIU Law School), Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-IL), James Buda (Caterpillar Inc.), Roxane Busey (Baker &McKenzie), James Figliulo (Figliulo & Silverman, P.C.), Victor Henderson (Holland & Knight), Larry Kuster (Rammelkamp Bradney P.C.), Lynn Mirabella (Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC), James Montana (VedderPrice PC), Jennifer Nijman (Nijman Franzetti LLP), Richard Porter (Kirkland& Ellis LLP), and Ronald Safer (Schiff Hardin LLP).

John Tharp is married to Betsy Tharp and has 3 children, Matthew, Emily and Ellen. Tharp led the U.S. Attorney's 1995 investigation of Edward Rosewell, the former long-time Cook County Treasurer who pled guilty to engaging in a ghost-payrolling scheme. Tharp also handled the investigation and prosecution of extortion charges against former Illinois Senate Majority Leader John D'Arco.

"It's time to put Illinois corruption and Blagojevich-style politics behind us," Senator Kirk said. "As a prosecutor and lawyer, John Tharp is uniquely qualified to both serve as a federal judge and to send a signal that Illinois is not synonymous with corruption." Kirk continued, "John Tharp made a name for himself as an Assistant U.S. Attorney whose cases included political corruption and money laundering. His impressive tenure in that office includes service in the General Crimes Division and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force."

Tharp, age 50, attended Duke University on a ROTC scholarship and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduating summa cum laude with a degree in political science. Tharp served in the Marine Corps from 1982 to 1988, achieving the rank of Captain and earning the Navy Achievement Medal and the Navy Distinguished Midshipman Award. He subsequently attended Northwestern University Law School on a full merit John Henry Wigmore Scholarship. While at Northwestern, Tharp served as book review editor of the Northwestern Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1990.

Following graduation, Tharp served a one-year clerkship under Judge Joel Flaum of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990 to 1991. In 1992, Tharp was hired as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. It was there that Tharp tried the cases of Rosewell and D'Arco. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1997, Tharp has worked at Mayer Brown LLP, where he was made partner in 1999. Tharp is currently co-leader of Mayer Brown's securities litigation and enforcement practice. Tharp was originally nominated for a federal judgeship in 2008 but the Senate failed to process many nominations due to the pending election.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 5, 2011 11:21 AM.

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