John J. McConnell Jr.

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John James McConnell Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
Assumed office
May 6, 2011
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Ernest C. Torres
Personal details
Born John James McConnell Jr.
(1958-05-09) May 9, 1958 (age 60)
Providence, Rhode Island
Education Brown University (A.B.)
Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D.)

John James "Jack" McConnell Jr. (born May 9, 1958) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, McConnell earned an Artium Baccalaureus in 1980 from Brown University and a Juris Doctor in 1983 from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

From 1983 until 1984, McConnell worked as a law clerk to Rhode Island Supreme Court Associate Justice Donald Shea.[1] From 1984 until 1986, McConnell worked as an attorney with Mandell, Goodman, Famiglietti & Schwartz in Providence.[1] From 1986 until 1991, he served as an associate at what now is the law firm Motley Rice. From 1991 until 2011, he was a partner and director of the Environmental practice group at Motley Rice LLC, where he worked with state and local governments, groups, and individuals in cases of personal injury, property damage and economic loss as a result of negligent environmental practices.[2]

McConnell may be most known in his legal career for helping to draft and negotiate a $264 billion, 46-state settlement in the states' lawsuit against the tobacco industry. From 1997 until 2000, McConnell investigated the case, filed the complaint and conducted discovery and motion in the case while representing many states, including the State of New York, through its attorneys general. McConnell disclosed in his questionnaire upon his nomination to federal district court that he anticipates receiving deferred compensation of $2.5 million to $3.1 million per year for every year through 2024 for his work in the tobacco settlement.[3]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On November 17, 2008, McConnell sent a letter to U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, expressing his interest in being nominated for the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island that had been created by Judge Ernest C. Torres taking senior status. After interviews in February 2009 with both of his state's senators, McConnell learned in April 2009 that Reed would recommend his name to the White House for the nomination. President Obama formally nominated McConnell to the seat on March 10, 2010. On June 17, 2010 the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee recommended McConnell's nomination 13-6. On May 4, 2011, cloture was successfully invoked on his nomination in a 63-33 vote.[4] The Senate confirmed him later that day in a 50-44 vote.[5] He received his commission on May 6, 2011.[2]

Criticism of nomination[edit]

The Washington Examiner wrote an editorial critical of McConnell for making almost $700,000 in campaign contributions to Democrats by him and his wife since 1993. The editorial in the Washington Examiner claimed he is trying to buy a federal judgeship through targeted contributions.[6]

Notable cases[edit]

McConnell is handling the mortgage docket to assist in halting nearly 200 home foreclosures.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "President Obama Nominates Judge Catherine Eagles, Judge Kimberly Mueller and John J. McConnell Jr. to the United States District Court". The White House. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "McConnell, John James Jr. – Federal Judicial Center". 
  3. ^ "The Judicial Confirmation War Moves Up to Rhode Island". The Wall Street Journal. 
  4. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 112th Congress - 1st Session". 
  5. ^
  6. ^ John O'Brien. "Obama's judicial picks sent back to Senate". Retrieved September 15, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Special master to hasten foreclosure negotiations". The Boston Globe. 6 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Ernest C. Torres
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island