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Judge Hamilton nominated for 7th Circuit

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An Indianapolis federal judge could be the next to take a spot on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The White House announced today President Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton for the Chicago-based appellate bench, which has had an opening since Judge Kenneth F. Ripple took senior status in September 2008.

Serving the Southern District of Indiana for 15 years, he is the first candidate President Obama has named for one of the nation's 17 appellate judicial vacancies.

Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh spokesman Brian Weiss confirmed the senator recommended Judge Hamilton, who had served as counsel to Bayh when he was the state's governor. A 1983 graduate of Yale Law School, Judge Hamilton practiced at Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg until his appointment in 1989 as then-Gov. Bayh's counsel. He served in that spot until being named to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Judge Hamilton has been serving as chief judge since January 2008. He's also served as a member of the Indiana State Recount Commission and as chairman of the Indiana State Ethics Committee.

"Judge Hamilton has a long and impressive record of service and a history of handing down fair and judicious decisions. He will be a thoughtful and distinguished addition to the 7th circuit and I am extremely pleased to put him forward to serve the people of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin," President Obama said in a press release.

Southern District Clerk Laura Briggs said the Judge Hamilton is not able to comment on the nomination until the process is complete. The nomination now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration, and if approved there, would move on to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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