Peter Kirsanow

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Peter Kirsanow
Personal details
Born (1953-10-30) October 30, 1953 (age 68)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materCornell University (BA)
Cleveland State University (JD)

Peter N. Kirsanow (born October 30, 1953) is a partner with the law firm of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, working within its Labor & Employment Practice Group in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a black civil-rights commissioner and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (a part-time appointment), serving his fourth consecutive 6-year term, which he was reappointed to by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in December 2019. He is the longest-serving member among the current commission. He was previously a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from January 2006 to January 2008.


Kirsanow received his B.A. from Cornell University in 1976 and then in 1979 received his J.D. cum laude from Cleveland–Marshall College of Law, where he served as articles editor of the Cleveland State Law Review.[1][2][3][4][5]


Kirsanow served as labor counsel for the City of Cleveland and as senior labor counsel of Leaseway Transportation Corp.[3][5]

Kirsanow was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights by President George W. Bush in December 2001, but Chairwoman Mary Frances Berry told the White House that it would take federal marshals to seat Kirsanow, fighting his appointment all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In May 2002 the United States Department of Justice prevailed in its lawsuit to seat Kirsanow as a member of the Commission.[3][6] He was reappointed by President Bush to serve a second six-year term on the commission,[5] and then reappointed once more by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.

President Bush appointed Kirsanow to the five-member NLRB in 2006 for two years, where he was involved with significant decisions including Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., Dana/Metaldyne and Oil Capital Sheet Metal, Inc. In 2008, Kirsanow returned to the Cleveland law firm of Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, where he is a partner with the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He represents management in employment-related litigation, contract negations, NLRB proceedings and EEO matters.[3][5]

Kirsanow has written articles for National Review since 2003.[7] Kirsanow testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the nominations of John Roberts,[8] Samuel Alito,[9][10] Sonia Sotomayor[11][12][13] and Elena Kagan[14][15] to the Supreme Court and at the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions nomination for United States Attorney General.[16]

Bar admissions and associations[edit]

  • Ohio, 1979[4]
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, 1984[4][5]
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit[5]


  • Past Chair of the Board of Directors, The Center for New Black Leadership[2][5]
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the National Center for Public Policy Research[2]
  • Adjunct Professor, Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1992-1993[3][4][5]
  • Member, National Labor Relations Board, 2006-2008[2][3][5]
  • Commissioner, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2002- [2]


  • "Target Omega" (2017)
  • "Second Strike" (2018)


  1. ^ "Commissioner Kirsanow". U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Peter N. Kirsanow". Commissioners. U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Peter Kirsanow". Major Issues Lecture Series. Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Peter Kirsanow". Labor Mediation Attorney in Ohio. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Peter N. Kirsanow". People. Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  6. ^ "No Warm and Fuzzy Welcome for Peter Kirsanow". Fox News. 18 May 2002. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Peter Kirsanow Archive". National Review Online. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. ^ Davis, Marcia (16 September 2005). "John Roberts and a Judge of History". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Jennifer Cabranes Braceras and Peter Kirsanow, both members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and supporters of Roberts, were among the day's 30 witnesses offering their views on the nominee.
  9. ^ Lowry, Rich (6 June 2006). "Alito's true bias". Jewish World Review. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Peter Kirsanow, an expert on employment law and a Bush appointee on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, found that Alito heard 20 civil-rights cases while sitting on a three-judge panel with two Democrat-appointed colleagues, and all the decisions were unanimous.
  10. ^ Blumenthal, Max (12 January 2006). "Alito's Pro-Internment Witness: "You Can Forget About Civil Rights"". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Kirsanow is a conservative African-American member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and recent backdoor Bush appointee to the National Labor Relations Board. His mere presence today as a pro-Alito witness raises serious questions about the nominee's willingness to protect established legal precedent on civil rights.
  11. ^ "Peter Kirsanow to Testify at Sotomayor Hearing". Press Release. Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  12. ^ Kroll, Kathryn (15 June 2009). "Cleveland lawyer Peter Kirsanow to testify Thursday at hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  13. ^ "Peter Kirsanow Testifies at Sonia Sotomayor's Confirmation Hearings". Washington Post. 16 July 2009. Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Kirsanow to Testify at Kagan Supreme Court Hearing". Press Release. Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Testimony of Peter N. Kirsanow Before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Nomination of Elena Kagan to the United States Supreme Court" (PDF). 1 July 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  16. ^ Cory Booker, Cornell William Brooks, Chuck Canterbury, David D. Cole, Peter N. Kirsanow, John Lewis, Michael B. Mukasey, Cedric Levon, Jayann Sepich, Amita Swadhin, Larry Thompson, Oscar Vasquez, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Coons, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Dick Durbin, Al Franken, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Mazie Hirono, John Neely Kennedy, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick J. Leahy, Thom Tillis, Sheldon Whitehouse (2017-01-11). Attorney General Confirmation Hearing, Day 2. C-SPAN. 420933-1.

External links[edit]

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