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INDIANAPOLIS — A Valparaiso University Law School graduate nominated by Republican President Donald Trump to serve as a federal judge in the Southern District of Indiana was confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate on a unanimous voice vote.

James Patrick "J.P." Hanlon, an Illinois native, earned his law degree at Valparaiso in 1996 while also serving as articles editor of the Valparaiso University Law Review.

After graduating, Hanlon was a law clerk for Judge Robert Miller Jr. at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. 

He also worked in labor and employment law at the Chicago firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP, spent five years as assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and most recently led white collar defense and investigations as a partner in the Indianapolis firm of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

His nomination to the federal bench was supported both by U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.

"After meeting with J.P. and following his confirmation process, I was proud to vote for his nomination on the Senate floor," Donnelly said. "His commitment to Indiana and to public service is laudable. I wish him success as he takes on this important new role."

Young said he is confident Hanlon will be a "terrific" judge at the significantly understaffed Indianapolis federal court.

"J.P. is well respected in the Indianapolis community, and has spent years working both civil and criminal cases on behalf of Hoosiers," Young said.

"It’s important that we are filling this court vacancy with a fair and highly regarded attorney, and I am glad he can now get to work addressing the court’s judicial emergency."

The president's nomination of a second Valparaiso Law graduate — Fort Wayne attorney Holly Brady — for a judicial vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana was approved in June by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is awaiting a final vote by the full Senate.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.