The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has announced that Indianapolis Bar Association member James R. Sweeney II today took the oath of office to become a United States District Judge. Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson administered the oath at 11 a.m., fulfilling the final step in Judge Sweeney’s ascension to the bench. With the support of Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, President Trump nominated Judge Sweeney for the position on November 1, 2017, to the seat created by Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s assumption of senior status in 2014. The Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Sweeney on August 28, 2018.
Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson said, “The court is proud to welcome Judge Sweeney to the bench. He is an incredibly bright, hard-working, and talented attorney, and we know that he will make a fine judge. He comes to the court at a time of great need, as we continue to work under ever-increasing caseloads. Having Judge Sweeney on board is a significant benefit to the court and to all citizens of the Southern District of Indiana.”
Judge Sweeney’s caseload is drawn from the Indianapolis and Terre Haute divisions and, in addition to drawing newly assigned cases, he has been reassigned cases from other judges.
Prior to his appointment as District Judge, Judge Sweeney was a partner in the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, focusing on intellectual property matters, as well as serving as co-chair of the firm’s Federal Contracting, Procurement and National Security Practice Group. He was also a member of the Global Services Practice Group and the Internet and Technology Law Practice Group. Judge Sweeney represented clients in national security clearance and defense industry matters. He also represented clients in military forums and federal grand jury proceedings and prosecutions.
Before joining Barnes & Thornburg, Judge Sweeney served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable John Daniel Tinder during Judge Tinder’s service as U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Indiana. Judge Sweeney also clerked for the Honorable James L. Ryan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
An Indianapolis native, Judge Sweeney earned a B.S. with merit from the United States Naval Academy in 1983 and accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps. He is a combat veteran and retired Marine Corps colonel. Judge Sweeney graduated magna cum laude in 1996 from the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he served as the editor in chief of the Notre Dame Law Review.