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Barnes partner Sweeney nominated for Southern District judgeship

November 2, 2017

An Indianapolis attorney and partner in the state's largest law firm has been nominated for a federal district court judgeship.

The White House said in a statement that President Donald Trump nominated James Sweeney II for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, which covers roughly the southern two-thirds of Indiana.

Sweeney is a partner with the Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg. He graduated from the Naval Academy and was an officer in the Marines, retiring as a combat veteran at the rank of colonel, before receiving his law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

If Sweeney is confirmed by the Senate, he would fill a full-time judge vacancy that opened up when Judge Sarah Evans Barker assumed senior judge status in 2014.

President Barack Obama nominated Deputy U.S. Attorney Winfield Ong for the position in early 2016, but the full Senate never took a confirmation vote.

According to the White House announcement, Sweeney served as a law clerk to Judge James L. Ryan of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a law clerk to retired 7th Circuit Judge John D. Tinder while Tinder was a judge on the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Prior to enrolling in law school, Sweeney accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps, and served on active duty for 11 years, followed by active reserve duty. He is a graudate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is immediate past past of the Reserve Officers Association of the United States.

Vice President Mike Pence applauded Sweeney's nomination. “Indiana has three Federal district court vacancies, and the seat that Mr. Sweeney has been nominated to fill is one of 64 Federal judicial vacancies designated as a ‘judicial emergency.’ It is vitally important that the Senate move swiftly to schedule a hearing and a vote on Mr. Sweeney’s nomination, as well as the President’s 50 other pending federal judicial nominees. By nominating outstanding candidates like Jim Sweeney and former Notre Dame Law Professor Amy Coney Barrett — who was confirmed to an Indiana seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Tuesday) — the President is delivering on his promise to nominate outstanding judges. The American people deserve to have these judges quickly confirmed.”

Likewise, Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young urged the Senate to quickly confirm Sweeney to ease the judicial emergency in one of the most overworked districts in the county.

“Jim is a well-respected attorney in the areas of intellectual property and national security law and has earned broad respect from his peers,” Young said in a statement. “As a fellow Marine, he has led a life of honor, courage, and commitment to our country and to the rule of law. I believe he will make an excellent judge and look forward to the Senate evaluating his qualifications to serve.”

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