Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. Sworn In as New Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

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Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. was sworn in as the new Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio during a ceremony on Friday, June 25, 2010, in the ceremonial courtroom of the Carl Stokes Court House in Cleveland.

Judge Oliver replaces Judge James G. Carr who went on senior status effective June 1, 2010, and will be a professor at the University of Toledo College of Law.

President William Jefferson Clinton appointed Judge Oliver to the federal bench in 1994. Previously, Judge Oliver was a professor of law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Cleveland, serving as Chief of the Civil Division and Chief of the Appellate Litigation. He served as a law clerk for the late Judge William H. Hastie of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Oliver received his B.A. from the College of Wooster (1969), where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1972.
United States District Judge David Dowd—a fellow graduate of the College of Wooster—swore in Judge Oliver.

An overflow crowd heard Judge Oliver’s brother Paul, a partner with an Atlanta law firm, who reminisced about Judge Oliver’s early years growing up in Bessemer, Alabama, one of 10 children of parents—a stay at home mother and steelworker/preacher father—who had great pride and high expectations for the family. Living in the midst of the segregated south in the ‘50s and ‘60s was difficult for the family, he noted, but all 10 children graduated from high school and attended higher education.

United States Magistrate Kenneth McHargh—a former classmate of Judge Oliver’s at the College of Wooster—praised Judge Oliver as a man of high principal and calm demeanor, who was respected for those qualities even as a college student by faculty and students alike.

Chaka Patterson, Vice President and Treasurer of Exelon Corporation, was a law clerk with Judge Oliver. He discussed the powerful, positive influence Judge Oliver had on him personally and professionally.
Judge Leslie Wells, who presided over the ceremony, also praised Judge Oliver as a judge and person.

Judge Oliver thanked everyone for attending and acknowledged all that had spoken on his behalf. He also thanked his staff members and the many members of his family in attendance. He shared reflections about his personal and professional journey. Like his brother, he paid tribute to his modest, hard-working parents who instilled in him values that have been key to his success. He said he was honored to be the new Chief Judge for the District and was looking forward to working with all his fellow judges. Judge Oliver also noted that he is looking forward to working with the FBA-NDOC as well as the local bar associations. Following the ceremony, he thanked the FBA-NDOC for being a sponsor of the reception—along with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and Norman S. Minor Bar Association. Judge Oliver’s speech is reprinted in full in “The Gavel” section of this newsletter.

The ceremony ended with a processional of judges led by Christian Hunter, a College of Wooster graduate playing “Scotland the Brave” on the bagpipes, wearing a College of Wooster kilt.