Canton Repository

September 7, 2006

Glowing reviews for Judge Lioi at Senate nomination hearing

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON Stark County Common Pleas Judge Sara E. Lioi pledged to ensure that litigants get due process and said she would abide by the precedents set by higher courts as she sailed through a Senate hearing on her nomination to a federal judgeship Wednesday.

President Bush has proposed Lioi, a Plain Township resident, for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. The 40-county district is based in Cleveland and includes Stark, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties.

With her mother, Rosario Lioi, sisters Carmela Lioi and Mary Germann, a cousin and several friends looking on, Lioi fielded questions from Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Cedarville, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

In a question addressed to all four nominees who appeared at the hearing, Lioi said she concurred with the others that a judge should maintain control of a courtroom without becoming obtrusive.

“The role of a judge is to ensure due process,” she said. “The goal of the proceedings must be orderly administration of the law.”

The other nominees and their proposed appointments are Kent A. Jordan for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Marcia M. Howard for the U.S. District Court in Florida and John A. Jarvey for the U.S. District Court in Iowa.

Federal judges get lifetime appointments.

All four promised to follow the precedents set by higher courts, such as the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate courts.

Lioi, 45, received glowing reviews from DeWine and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, who had recommended her to Bush for the appointment.

Introducing Lioi at the hearing, Voinovich praised her extensive involvement in civic affairs.

“I believe involvement in one’s community is important,” he said. “We need judges who not only have exceptional legal skills but who also recognize how the law impacts individuals and communities.”

Voinovich was responsible for Lioi’s becoming a judge. When he was governor of Ohio, he appointed her to fill a vacancy in Stark County Common Pleas Court in 1997.

Lioi, who is single, graduated from GlenOak High School before earning a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from Ohio State University.

All four nominees appear headed to an easy confirmation by the Senate. The Judiciary Committee could vote on the nominees as early as next week, paving the way for Senate approval later this month.

DeWine said no objections have been raised to Lioi so far.

“She did very well” in the hearing, he added.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the top Democrat on the committee, called Lioi a “good choice” and said he was prepared to support all four nominees.

Asked why she wanted to become a federal judge, Lioi said as a state judge she could not “imagine a higher honor” and looked forward to hearing cases involving federal laws.

DeWine also asked her what she had learned from chairing an Ohio Supreme Court panel on character and fitness in the legal profession.

Lioi said serving on the panel “just underscored for me the qualities and characteristics that are necessary” in attorneys and judges, such as honesty and integrity.

DeWine said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., asked him to chair the hearing because Lioi was among the nominees. He said he’s done so several times in the past when there were nominees from Ohio