McFarland’s nomination to federal bench moves to full Senate

By Tom Corrigan - [email protected]



“I think it’s a matter of time, I think he’s home free,” said Carl Tobias a professor of law at the University of Richmond in Virginia.

Tobias was referring to Scioto County native and Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals Judge Matthew McFarland. On Thursday morning, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee sent McFarland’s nomination as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for approval by the full Senate.

Tobias offered his comments to the Daily Times in the past after seeing the paper’s previous stories on McFarland’s nomination. Tobias said he has observed and studied judicial nomination proceedings for some time and watched the initial confirmation hearings for McFarland late last month as well as Thursday’s judiciary committee vote.

According to Tobias, while McFarland earned a few “no” votes from Democrats on the Senate committee, he also gained some Democratic support. There is a rule that allows the minority party to delay moving to the floor any nominee approved by the committee. Tobias said Democrats have done that in the past. They did not do so in the case of McFarland on Thursday.

“I think it reflects the Democrats are comfortable with this group,” Tobias said.

Besides McFarland, the judiciary committee passed on to the full Senate three other Republican nominees for federal judiciary seats around the country.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman, (R-OH,) first nominated McFarland in October 2017. The nomination seemed to have stalled for a healthy amount of time, but President Trump added McFarland’s name to a list of 13 judicial nominees in October 2018, according to previous Daily Times stories.

“I am pleased that the Judiciary Committee voted in favor of Judge Matt McFarland and Doug Cole to serve as the next federal judges in the Southern District,” Portman said in an emailed statement. “Judge McFarland has been a dedicated public servant on the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals.

“And Cole is a highly-regarded lawyer in private practice who previously served the state with distinction as solicitor general. I am confident that they will serve Ohio and the federal bench well when they are confirmed.”

Cole is a partner in the Ohio law firm of Organ Cole LLP. According to their website, Cole has argued some 25 cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. At the request of then Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, Cole served as Ohio’s state solicitor from 2002 to 2006.

In introducing McFarland to the judiciary committee in June, Portman noted McFarland would be the first federal judge to come out of the Appalachian part of Ohio in 100 years.

“About time,” Portman said.

According to Portman, McFarland began his public service as a Scioto County assistant prosecutor and later became a Special Counsel for the Ohio Attorney General. McFarland also served as a magistrate in the Probate/Juvenile Division of the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas.

According to previous Daily Times stories, McFarland also serves as an adjunct professor at Shawnee State University and formerly taught constitutional law at Capital University. McFarland received his BA, cum laude, from Capital University and his law degree from Capital University Law School.

McFarland’s nomination initially came from a bipartisan Senate nominating committee including Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown, (D-OH.)

Asked to comment on his nomination for previous stories, McFarland’s office stated the U.S. Department of Justice requested all calls regarding the nomination be routed to them or Portman’s office.

As he did in the past, Tobias estimated the judicial nominations will make it to the full Senate floor sometime this fall.


By Tom Corrigan

[email protected]

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.Reach

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.Reach