Timothy Black

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Timothy Black
Timothy Black District Judge.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
Assumed office
May 13, 2010
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded bySandra Beckwith
Magistrate Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
In office
2004 – May 13, 2010
Personal details
Timothy Seymour Black

1953 (age 65–66)
Brookline, Massachusetts
Spouse(s)Marnie Chapman
EducationHarvard College (A.B.)
Salmon P. Chase College of Law (J.D.)

Timothy Seymour Black (born 1953) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Early life and education[edit]

Black earned an Artium Baccalaureus from Harvard College in 1975 and then earned a Juris Doctor in 1983 from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

Black practiced law as a civil litigator for the Cincinnati law firm of Graydon Head & Ritchey from 1983 until 1993.[1]

In 1991, Black unsuccessfully ran in a judicial election for the Hamilton County Municipal Court as a Republican.[3] In 1993, he ran as a Democrat and defeated sitting judge David Albanese.[3] He served as a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge from 1994–2004.[1] He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court in 2000 and in 2002.[citation needed][2]

Work as a magistrate judge[edit]

In 2004, the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio selected Black as a United States Magistrate Judge.[4][2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

In July 2009, a bipartisan commission in Ohio selected Black from a list of three finalists and recommended him to President Barack Obama to fill a vacancy on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. On December 24, 2009, Obama formally nominated Black to fill the district court vacancy, which was created by Judge Sandra Beckwith taking senior status on January 1, 2009.[4] On May 11, 2010, the United States Senate confirmed Black in a unanimous voice vote. He received his commission on May 13, 2010.[2]

Recognition of same-sex married couple[edit]

On July 22, 2013 Judge Black ruled that Ohio must recognize the same sex marriage of John Arthur and James Obergefell. Arthur, who died on October 22, 2013[5] of Lou Gehrig's disease, and Obergefell were married in Maryland, where same-sex marriage is recognized, in a ceremony on an airplane on the airport tarmac. The ruling meant the pair can be buried next to each other in Arthur's family plot, located at a cemetery that only allows descendants and spouses. Black reasoned that because Ohio recognizes out-of-state heterosexual marriages that would be prohibited in Ohio, such as marriages between first cousins or minors – including those who married outside Ohio for the sole purpose of evading its marriage laws – the state cannot single out homosexual marriages as the sole category of out-of-state marriages to which it will not grant recognition.[6]

In September 2013, Ohio State Representative John Becker sent a letter to a member of the Ohio Congressional delegation asking him to initiate impeachment proceedings against Judge Black.[7] On December 23, 2013, Black ordered Ohio to recognize same-sex marriages from other states on death certificates, deeming Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Obama nominates local lawyer for judgeship", The Cincinnati Enquirer, December 24, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d "Black, Timothy Seymour – Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  3. ^ a b Emily Foster and Linda Vaccariello, "Rating the Judges: Municipal Court", Cincinnati Magazine, September 1997.
  4. ^ a b Dan Horn, Obama taps local lawyer for fed judge, The Cincinnati Enquirer, December 24, 2009.
  5. ^ John Arthur and James Obergefell marriage lawsuit, cincinnati.com, October 22, 2013; accessed June 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "Ohio Gay Couple's Marriage Must Be Recognized In State, Judge Rules", HuffingtonPost.com, July 23, 2013; accessed June 26, 2015.
  7. ^ [1], advocate.com; accessed June 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Sewell, Dan (December 23, 2013). "Ohio gay marriage ban is rejected in narrow ruling". Associated Press. Retrieved June 26, 2015.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Sandra Beckwith
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio