Nicholas ranjan

Indian American attorney J. Nicholas Ranjan was confirmed as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania by the Senate July 10. (C-SPAN clip)

On an 80-14 bi-partisan Senate vote July 10, Indian American attorney Jagan Nicholas Ranjan was confirmed as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Ranjan, 41, is currently a partner in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offices of K&L Gates, where he works on commercial and appellate litigation. He is filling a seat that was vacated in 2016. President Donald Trump nominated Ranjan on July 24, 2018. He underwent a Senate Judiciary hearing Nov. 13, 2018, along with three other jurists, as his wife and daughter looked on.

During the judiciary hearing, Ranjan joined the three other nominees who stated they could not comment on how they would rule on President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Rajan’s term is expected to begin this August. He was deemed “well-qualified” for the post by the American Bar Association. The South Asian Bar Association of North America had not released a statement on Ranjan’s confirmation as of press time July 11.

The Vetting Room Web site noted that Ranjan has been critical of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who — he believes — has made decisions based on political, rather than judicial factors.

Ranjan has characterized Thomas’s 1991 confirmation hearing — at which attorney Anita Hill testified that she was sexually harassed by the nominee — as “a racist manhunt for Thomas by fiendish political lynchers.” He nevertheless has stated that Thomas’s decisions are “unreasoned, bitterly partisan, and grossly propagandized,” as reported by the Vetting Room, which nonetheless predicted Ranjan would sail through to a confirmation.

“Nick will be an outstanding federal judge, just as he has been an outstanding law partner, advocate for clients, mentor to colleagues, and pro bono and diversity champion,” said K&L Gates global managing partner James Segerdahl, in a press statement.

“He has the intellect, temperament, and judgment required to excel in the critically important role of federal jurist,” said Segerdahl.

At K&L Gates, Ranjan has been both a pro bono coordinator and chairman of the diversity committee for the firm’s Pittsburgh office, helping to lead diversity and pro bono initiatives within the firm and throughout the community.

The attorney, who also has two young sons, served as K&L Gates’ 2017 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow and was the recipient of a Leadership Excellence Award from the Pittsburgh Leadership Conference, according to a press statement from the law firm.

“Nick is a superb lawyer, trusted by clients with their most difficult legal issues,” said Thomas J. Smith, managing partner of K&L Gates’ Pittsburgh office. “He is extremely bright, an extraordinarily hard worker, and is universally liked and respected by colleagues.”

“Nick will be a superb addition to the stellar federal bench in the Western District of Pennsylvania,” said Smith.

Ranjan was born in Lancaster, Ohio and graduated summa cum laude from Grove City College in 2000. He then attended the University of Michigan Law School.

After graduating from law school, Ranjan spent a year at the Office of the Ohio Solicitor General and then clerked for Judge Deborah Cook on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined the Pittsburgh Office of K&L Gates as an Associate.

(See earlier India-West story here:

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