04.13.09

Reed and Whitehouse Announce Recommendation of Justice O. Rogeriee Thompson to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and John J. "Jack" McConnell to the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI - United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced they have recommended that President Barack Obama nominate Rhode Island Superior Court Justice O. Rogeriee Thompson to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals and attorney John J. "Jack" McConnell to the U.S. District Court in Providence.

"After an open process to solicit qualified applicants followed by extensive interviews and careful deliberation, we have recommended that President Obama nominate Rhode Island Superior Court Justice O. Rogeriee Thompson to the U.S. First Circuit of Appeals Court and John J. "Jack" McConnell to the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island.

"We worked hard on this process for months and had many talented and skilled Rhode Islanders express an interest in serving their country on the federal bench. Indeed, we were extraordinarily impressed with the talent, character, and commitment to public service of these distinguished attorneys.

"We believe that Justice Thompson and Mr. McConnell are highly qualified and will make Rhode Island proud. They both possess strong legal backgrounds, a commitment to justice, and the intellect, temperament, and integrity to serve as federal judges. They both come from working, middle-class families and share a profound respect for the rule of law.

"We look forward to working with the President and our colleagues in the Senate to see these nominations through the confirmation process," said Reed and Whitehouse.

Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law. She also holds honorary degrees from the University of Rhode Island and Bryant College. Justice Thompson has served on the Rhode Island Superior Court since 1997, when she became the first African American woman to serve as an Associate Justice for the Rhode Island Superior Court. Justice Thompson is being recommended for a nomination to serve on the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Boston and hears appeals from Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico.

Jack McConnell received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Mr. McConnell is a prominent attorney who is well known for his pro bono work and for successfully leading the historic tobacco settlement case which helped aid public health and prevent more young people from smoking. Mr. McConnell is being recommended for a nomination to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, which is the state's federal trial court that has jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.

It is customary for the President to ask U.S. Senators for recommendations for judicial appointments, although ultimately it is the President's role to nominate a candidate who must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.