Judge installed for US court in Rhode Island

By Laura Crimaldi
Associated Press / June 28, 2011

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PROVIDENCE — A new judge has been formally sworn into office, filling a long-vacant post on the US District Court for Rhode Island.

An investiture ceremony for US District Judge John J. McConnell Jr. took place yesterday at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

McConnell shed a tear while McConnell, a former trial lawyer, was confirmed by the US Senate in a 50-to-44 vote last month for a vacancy on the three-judge federal court in Providence. The position was left open for four years amid partisan bickering.

Some Republican senators opposed McConnell’s nomination, contending he was biased against business defendants. Rhode Island officials had hired McConnell to help try a high-profile lawsuit against former lead paint companies.

Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit described McConnell’s confirmation process as “terribly traumatic.’’

McConnell has already started work on federal cases. He was sworn in privately last month and began working immediately.