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below, from the White House....

President Obama Nominates Four to Serve on the US District Court Bench

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 10, 2011

President Obama Nominates Four to Serve on the US District Court Bench

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Obama nominated Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, John Z. Lee, Judge George Levi Russell, III and John J. Tharp Jr. to serve on the United States District Court bench.

"These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system," said President Obama. "I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity."

Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California

Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel serves as a judge on the Superior Court of San Diego, a position he has held since 2007. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Curiel spent 17 years as a federal prosecutor. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney, first in the Southern District of California, from 1989 to 2002, and later in the Central District of California, from 2002 to 2006. While in the Southern District, Judge Curiel was Chief of the Narcotics Enforcement Section from 1999 to 2002, having previously served as Deputy Chief of that Section for numerous years. He began his legal career in private practice, first at James, James & Manning from 1979 to 1986, and later at Barbosa & Vera from 1986 to 1989. Judge Curiel received his J.D. in 1979 from the Indiana University School of Law and his B.A. in 1976 from Indiana University.

John Z. Lee: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

John Z. Lee is currently a partner at the law firm of Freeborn & Peters LLP in Chicago, Illinois, where he primarily handles complex federal civil litigation. Before joining Freeborn & Peters LLP in 1999, Lee worked as an associate at Mayer Brown LLP from 1994 to 1996 and at Grippo & Elden LLC from 1996 to 1999. Lee began his legal career as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice. He received his J.D. in 1992 from Harvard Law School and his A.B. in 1989 from Harvard College.

Judge George Levi Russell, III: Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland

Judge George Levi Russell, III, is an associate judge on the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City, where he has served since 2007. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Russell served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Maryland on two different occasions. First, from 1994 to 1999, he handled civil matters for the office and later, from 2002 to 2007, he was assigned to the criminal division and prosecuted federal crimes. Judge Russell worked in private practice at the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, PC from 2000 to 2002 and at Hazel & Thomas PC from 1992 to 1994. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert Bell of the Maryland Court of Appeals from 1991 to 1992. Judge Russell received his J.D. in 1991 from the University of Maryland School of Law and his B.A. in 1988 from Morehouse College.

John J. Tharp Jr.: Nominee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

John J. Tharp Jr. is a partner and co-chair of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Practice at the Chicago office of Mayer Brown LLP, where he has practiced since 1997. From 1992 to 1997, Tharp served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. Previously, Tharp worked in private practice as an associate at Kirkland & Ellis from 1991 to 1992. He began his legal career by serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Joel M. Flaum of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 1990 to 1991. Tharp received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1990 from the Northwestern University School of Law and his A.B. summa cum laude in 1982 from Duke University. Prior to attending law school, Tharp served in the United States Marine Corps for five years.

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DURBIN, KIRK STATEMENT ON WHITE HOUSE NOMINEES TO FILL FEDERAL JUDGESHIP IN NORTHERN DISTRICT

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today announced that President Obama has nominated John Lee and John Tharp to fill two vacancies on the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois. The Senators released the following statement:

"We are pleased President Obama nominated John Tharp and John Lee to serve on the federal bench. Both individuals are eminently qualified and we will work together to ensure their swift confirmation in the Senate."

John Lee

Mr. Lee is a partner at the law firm of Freeborn & Peters LLP where his practice concentrates on commercial litigation matters. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and cum laude from Harvard Law School. Following law school, Mr. Lee worked as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Environment & Natural Resources Division, where he represented the United States in environmental cases before various federal courts. Upon entering private practice, Mr. Lee joined the law firm Mayer Brown, where he represented clients in complex environmental disputes. He later joined the law firm Grippo & Elden LLC, where he represented clients in a variety of complex litigation matters, including antitrust, intellectual property and class action cases.

Mr. Lee serves as the President of the Board of Directors of Asian Human Services of Chicago, an organization that is focused on providing social services to recent Asian American immigrant communities in Chicago. He also serves on the Board of Directors and was the past President of the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), the legal services "hotline" for Cook County that serves more than 50,000 low income clients every year. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago. Mr. Lee and his family currently live in the Barrington area.

John Tharp

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 July 2008 but the Senate did not act on his nomination before adjournment.


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.

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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 November 11, 2011 2:39 PM.

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