WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced Ohio judicial nominees Eric Murphy, Chad Readler, Pamela Barker and Sarah Morrison at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He praised their qualifications and experience and urged the Senate to confirm Murphy and Readler as judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Barker as a federal district judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Morrison as a federal district judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. 

A transcript of his introduction can be found below and a video can be found here:

“Thank you, Chairman Lee, I appreciate your inviting me to speak here today to speak on behalf of four very distinguished Ohioans. Earlier today it was said that they were rushed through the process. I don’t think that they feel that way. It has been a long time and we’re very happy to have our Ohio day here finally. To the families that are here, thank you for your patience. It has been weeks and, in many cases, months and frankly we, on the district courts, have openings that have been open for way too long. I know that’s the case with many district courts around the country and we appreciate the fact that you’re holding the hearing and wanting to move these nominees forward as quickly as possible. I appreciate their willingness to step up, and each of them, as you’ll see, have a pretty distinguished public service career already, so it’s not getting into public service for the first time but it’s taking this additional step and putting themselves through this process. They have dedicated much of their lives to public service. 

“I’ll start with our two Sixth Circuit nominees who were just talked about. Eric Murphy has been nominated to fill the vacancy created when Judge Alice Batchelder took senior status. Eric grew up all over the country while his dad served in the Marine Corps, but he graduated from high school in my hometown of Cincinnati, so we consider him one of Ohio’s own. He graduated summa cum laude from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and he earned his J.D. with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School. There, he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review. 

“After law school, Eric clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and then for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court. For six years, Eric practiced in the Columbus office of Jones Day. In 2013, he became Solicitor General of our state, and as Solicitor General of the state of Ohio, serving his clients, he argued appeals on behalf of the state before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit, and the Ohio Supreme Court.  

“Next nominee, Chad Readler, has been nominated to fill the vacancy created when Judge Deborah Cook took senior status. Chad currently serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. Until just recently, he was the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. 

“In these two roles, Chad represents the administration in all of the civil lawsuits brought by and against the United States and oversees the DOJ’s entire civil division. That’s his job, to represent his client. Before serving in the administration, Chad was a partner with Jones Day in Columbus, where, in addition to his paid work, he took on numerous pro bono cases—in particular, representing clients in capital cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and other appellate courts. 

“Chad also clerked on the Sixth Circuit, for Judge Alan Norris. He attended the University of Michigan for both college and law school, where he earned his J.D. with honors.    

“Today, as was noted, we also have two district court nominees before the committee.  

“Pamela Barker has been nominated to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, to fill the vacancy created when Judge Donald Nugent took senior status. Since 2011, Judge Barker has served on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. 

“She previously served as the Claims Litigation Manager at Farmers Insurance Exchange, as of counsel at the Davis & Young law firm, as in-house counsel at Progressive Insurance Group, and as an associate attorney at Berkman, Gordon, Murray, and Palda. Judge Barker graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in Ohio, and she earned her law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law.  

“And last but certainly not least, Sarah Morrison has been nominated to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to fill the vacancy created when Judge Gregory Frost retired. Sarah Morrison currently serves as the Administrator and CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  

“Previously, she was a partner, and before that, an associate, with Taft, Stettinius, and Hollister. She served as a law clerk for the federal district court Judge John Holschuh in Ohio’s Southern District. Sarah graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s in political science, and she graduated magna cum laude from Capital University Law School in Columbus.  

“As was noted, these two district court nominees before us were recommended through a bipartisan judicial commission. I was pleased to work with Senator Brown and the members of our bipartisan commission to recommend these distinguished nominees to the president, and I’m glad they have Senator Brown’s support. 

“Federal circuit court nominees do not go through an Ohio commission process, as you all know, because the circuit courts hear cases from across several states, not just Ohio. And traditionally, the White House—of whichever party—is given considerable leeway on these circuit court judges. 

“I returned Mr. Murphy and Mr. Readler’s blue slips to this committee because these two nominees have the right experience and credentials, as we’ve talked about today, and are undoubtedly qualified to serve on the Sixth Circuit.  

“Mr. Murphy and Mr. Readler are both well-qualified. They both have argued—and won—cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous lower courts. They both clerked for circuit court judges, which gives them unique insight into the roles they’ve been asked to take on should they be confirmed. Mr. Murphy has also clerked for Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. A substantial majority of the American Bar Association Standing Committee ranked both of them ‘well qualified’ to sit on the bench, their highest rating. And they each come with the highest references regarding their character and abilities. 

“All four of these nominees, Mr. Chairman, are exceptional lawyers and people.  If confirmed, I believe they will serve Ohio and the federal bench with honor. I am proud to support their nominations before this committee. I urge all of you to do the same. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.” 

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