Portman, Brown to Recommend Judge Matt McFarland for the Dayton Location and Administrator Sarah Morrison for the Columbus Location

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced their recommendations to President Trump for the positions of U.S. Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. The recommendation will now be vetted by the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee before being considered for confirmation by the full U.S. Senate.  The Honorable Gregory L. Frost retired from his position, creating the vacancy in the Southern District in Columbus, Ohio.  The Honorable Thomas Rose recently announced that he is retiring from his position, creating another vacancy in the Southern District in Dayton, Ohio. The Southern District has court locations in Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton and serves more than five million Ohioans in 48 counties.  

Portman and Brown will recommend the appointment of Judge Matt McFarland for U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of Ohio in the seat of Dayton, Ohio.  McFarland was recommended to the Senators by a bipartisan advisory commission.   

“I am pleased to recommend Judge Matt McFarland to the president to be the next federal judge in Dayton,” said Portman.  “Judge McFarland has been a dedicated public servant in the state court of appeals. His esteemed reputation is well deserved and I am confident he will continue to distinguished service on the bench.”

“I’m proud to join Senator Portman in this bipartisan process, and I thank Judge McFarland for his willingness to serve,” said Brown.

“I want to thank Senators Portman and Brown, and their bipartisan judicial advisory commission for their recommendation to serve on the federal bench,” said Judge McFarland.  “It is truly an honor to continue to serve the citizens of Ohio and if nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, I will work tirelessly to make Ohio proud in the administration of justice.”

Portman and Brown will recommend the appointment of Administrator Sarah Morrison for U.S. District Court Judge in the Southern District of Ohio in the seat of Columbus, Ohio.  Morrison was recommended to the Senators by a bipartisan advisory commission.   

“It is my honor to recommend Sarah Morrison to the president to be Columbus’ newest federal judge,” said Portman.  “Administrator Morrison enjoys sweeping support for this seat because of her breadth of experience in the public and private sectors, including her time as CEO of Ohio’s Bureau of Workers Compensation. She will make Ohio proud in this new role.”  

“I’m proud to join Senator Portman in this bipartisan process, and I thank Administrator Morrison for her willingness to serve,” said Brown.

“I am honored to be considered for the position of federal district judge, and I sincerely appreciate the support of Senators Portman and Brown,” said Administrator Morrison. “As the approval process moves forward, I remain committed to serving Ohio's employers and injured workers at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.”

Judge Matt McFarland: Matthew McFarland is a judge on the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals.  He was elected to the court in 2004 and re-elected in 2010 and 2016.  Judge McFarland received his degree from Capital University and his J.D. from Capital University Law School.  Judge McFarland has served as a visiting Judge on the Supreme Court of Ohio and on the 10th District Court of Appeals. The Judge previously served as the Magistrate in Scioto County Common Pleas Court Probate/Juvenile Division, and as Chairman Ohio Association of Magistrates, Juvenile Section. Prior to serving on the bench, Judge McFarland was a Scioto County Assistant Prosecutor and acted as Special Counsel for the Ohio Attorney General. He also was a Licking County Assistant County Prosecutor and had his own private practice.

Administrator Sarah Morrison: Ohio Governor John Kasich appointed Sarah Morrison Administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation in May 2016. She leads an agency of more than 1,900 employees that serves more than 250,000 employers and administers nearly one million open claims.  Morrison joined BWC in November 2012 with more than 15 years of diverse legal experience. Prior to joining BWC, she was a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP in Columbus. She has specialized in various types of civil and commercial litigation, including complex litigation and class actions. Her trial practice involved appearances in federal and state courts, and she has argued before the Ohio Supreme Court.  Morrison began her career as a law clerk with the Chester Wilcox & Saxbe law firm. She also served one year as a judicial law clerk for Judge John D. Holschuh of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.  She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Ohio State University and a law degree from the Capital University Law School.

Background: The President of the United States nominates U.S. District Court Judges based on recommendations from U.S. Senators. Those recommendations are then vetted by the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee before being considered for confirmation by the full U.S. Senate.  U.S. District Courts are general trial courts which hear both civil and criminal cases.

In the interest of identifying the best possible judicial candidates for Ohio’s federal bench, Portman and Brown established a bipartisan Judicial Advisory Commission. Members of the commission were chosen by both senators to review applications and recommend candidates for this vacancy.  This is a process that was first established by Brown and former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH).

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