James Patrick “J.P.” Hanlon was confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by the U.S. Senate Thursday evening in a voice vote.
The partner at Faegre Baker Daniels was nominated by President Donald Trump and will fill the vacancy created when Judge William Lawrence took senior status in July. Hanlon, along with James Sweeney ll, who was confirmed on a voice vote in August, will bring the Southern Indiana District Court to five full-time judges, something the court has not had since 2014 when Judge Sarah Evans Barker took senior status.
Hanlon was among 15 federal judges confirmed by the Senate in a deal worked out between Republicans and Democrats. Indiana Sens. Todd Young, Republican, and Joe Donnelly, Democrat, both voted to confirm Hanlon and welcomed him to the bench.
“J.P. is well respected in the Indianapolis community, and has spent years working both civil and criminal cases on behalf of Hoosiers,” Young said in a statement. “It’s important that we are filling this court vacancy with a fair and highly regarded attorney, and I am glad he can now get to work addressing the court’s judicial emergency.”
The Southern District is one of the busiest federal courts in the country and has been deemed a judicial emergency. Its judges are handling a weighted caseload of more than 800 cases each.
Donnelly supported Hanlon’s nomination and, along with Young, introduced him to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“After meeting with J.P. and following his confirmation process, I was proud to vote for his nomination on the Senate floor,” Donnelly said in a statement. “His commitment to Indiana and to public service is laudable. I wish him success as he takes on this important new role.”
Hanlon graduated from Valparaiso University Law School, magna cum laude, and served for five years as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. He conducted 12 jury trials and two bench trials to successful resolution on behalf of the government and argued multiple cases on appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Still awaiting confirmation is Holly Brady, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Although she has not faced the opposition some of the more controversial nominees have faced, Brady did undergo tough questioning at her hearing and was opposed by every Democrat on the judicial committee.
Brady is a partner at Haller & Colvin PC in Fort Wayne.