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Public Statements

Nomination of George Levi Russell III, to be Untied States District Judge for the District of Maryland

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIRK. Mr. President, I wish to offer my strong endorsement for the nomination of John ``Jay'' Tharp to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Jay Tharp will be an outstanding addition to the Federal bench. He made a name for himself as an assistant U.S. attorney whose cases included political corruption and money laundering. His impressive tenure in that office includes service in the General Crimes Division and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's office in 1997, Tharp has worked at Mayer Brown LLP, where he was made partner in 1999. He is currently coleader of Mayer Brown's securities litigation and enforcement practice.

I want to thank Senator DURBIN for his continued dedication and hard work to ensure the Senate's timely confirmation of both Illinois judicial nominees, Jay Tharp and John Lee.

Under Senate tradition for Illinois, the senator from the party not in control of the White House makes nomination recommendations to the White House for one Federal district court judgeship for every three of the party in power. The arrangement is intended to ensure the orderly filing of Federal judge vacancies on the Illinois bench. Under that tradition, John Tharp was my first recommendation.

Jay served our country 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, Jay served as book review editor of the Northwestern Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1990.

Last week, the Senate voted to confirm John Lee to fill one of the vacancies for the Northern District. Senator DURBIN and I worked closely to recommend both Jay Tharp and John Lee and today's vote on Jay's nomination will hopefully conclude the process to fill these two vacancies.

I would also like to thank my Judicial Review Advisory Board, chaired by Peter Baugher of Schopf & Weiss LLP, for their hard work in selecting Jay Tharp. In February 2011, I formed this 14-member bipartisan, Statewide screening committee and charged it with identifying ``the strongest applicants from Illinois for consideration by the President and U.S. Senate.''

My Advisory Board received nearly 50 applications, met five times, and spent over 300 man-hours to review judicial candidates. The Advisory Board's review process included personal interviews as well as calls to colleagues, opposing counsel, and judges.

I urge my colleagues to support Jay Tharp's nomination.


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