The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to vote Thursday on the nomination of James Sweeney II to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Sweeney, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis, was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy created in the Southern Indiana District when Judge Sarah Evans Barker took senior status in 2014.
He appeared before the judiciary committee Jan. 10 as one of three nominees to the federal bench. However, neither he nor Barry Ashe, nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, fielded many questions. The nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Howard Nielson Jr., faced questioning over his involvement with the so-called “torture memos” regarding the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and his argument that a federal judge should have recused himself from a same-sex marriage case because he was gay.
Sweeney was given a “well-qualified” rating — the highest available — from the American Bar Association. The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which evaluates each nominee on the basis of integrity, professional competence and judicial temperament, was unanimous in its rating of Sweeney.
President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Southern Indiana District, Winfield Ong, was confirmed by the judiciary committee by unanimous consent. However, he never received a vote by the full Senate. The ABA rated Ong as qualified.
Sweeney will be among seven nominees the Judiciary Committee will consider during its business meeting, which starts at 10 a.m.