Obama Nominates Two as Federal Judges in Chicago

President Obama on Thursday nominated two men for federal judgeships in the Northern District of Illinois, both of whom once worked at the same law firm as his current chief of staff, Bill Daley.

Nominated Thursday were John Lee, a partner specializing in commercial litigation at Freeborn & Peters law firm, and John Tharp, a partner at Mayer Brown and co-leader of its securities litigation and enforcement practice.

Daley was once a partner at Mayer Brown.

"These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system," Obama said in a written statement. "I am grateful for their willingness to serve and confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity."

Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk, in a joint statement, commended the president on the nominations.

"We are pleased President Obama nominated John Tharp and John Lee to serve on the federal bench," they said. "Both individuals are eminently qualified and we will work together to ensure their swift confirmation in the Senate."

Lee began his legal career as a trial attorney in the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice.  He received his J.D. in 1992 from Harvard Law School and his A.B. in 1989 from Harvard College. He worked as an associate at Mayer Brown from 1994 to 1996 and at Grippo & Elden from 1996 to 1999. He's currently a partner at Freeborn & Peters.

Tharp served in the United States Marine Corps for five years before earning law degrees at Northwestern University and Duke University. He worked in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis from 1991 to 1992 and is currently partner at Mayer Brown.

Two other men were also nominated for federal judgeships. Gonzalo P. Curiel was nominated for the Southern District of California and George Levi Russell III was nominated for the District of Maryland.

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