KING / BLADE Enlarge
Judge Jack Zouhary of Lucas County Common Pleas Court was confirmed yesterday as a federal judge for the Northern District of Ohio.
The Senate voted 96-0, including Ohio Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich, who recommended Judge Zouhary's nomination to the federal court bench in Toledo.
He fills a vacancy left when U.S. District Judge David Katz assumed senior status on Jan. 1, 2005.
Judge Zouhary, 54, watched the vote live on C-SPAN with his wife, Kathleen, and daughter, Alexis, in their Sylvania Township home, with his other daughter, Katie Marie, on the phone and watching on her computer at work in New York City.
"I got a call from Senator DeWine telling me just before that if I have access to a TV, I might want to watch," the judge said, adding that after the vote was announced, "There were some high fives going around and some other excited words."
He has been a Lucas County Common Pleas judge since March, 2005, when he was chosen by Gov. Bob Taft to replace Judge William Skow, who went to Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals.
Judge Zouhary ran for common pleas court in November, 2004, but lost to Thomas Osowik by almost 30,000 votes.
He said he is eager and excited about his appointment to the federal court and is humbled by the bipartisan support he received through-out the process.
"I'm very much looking forward to it and working with the judges there and the lawyers there," Judge Zouhary said.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge of the cases there and hopefully to contribute to the federal court system as I've tried in my current position."
The Ohio senators recommended Judge Zouhary to President Bush in June, 2005. President Bush nominated him in December, 2005.
"Judge Zouhary's confirmation by the Senate is great news for Ohio and our federal justice system," Mr. DeWine said.
"Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a firm commitment to the ideals of civility and professionalism in the legal field - something we unfortunately don't see enough sometimes.
"He has the talent, fairness, and judicial temperament to be an outstanding federal judge who will make Ohioans proud," Mr. DeWine said.
Mr. Voinovich said he was "very pleased" with the confirmation.
"Judge Zouhary has deep roots in northwest Ohio, and he has outstanding academic and professional credentials," he said.
"As a result, I am not surprised that the American Bar Association unanimously rated him as 'well qualified,' the highest rating it can give to a judicial nominee."
The Lucas County Republican Party will nominate someone to fill the common pleas court vacancy, and the governor will appoint a successor.
Judge Zouhary was a senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of S.E. Johnson Companies Inc. of Maumee, from 2000 to 2003 and a partner in the law firm of Robison, Curphey & O'Connell from 1976 to 1999.
Before becoming a judge, he was with the Toledo law firm, Fuller & Henry.
Judge Zouhary is a graduate of DeVilbiss High School, Dartmouth College, and the University of Toledo law school.
Judge Zouhary's wife is vice president and general counsel of St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee.
Judge Zouhary said he was recommended for the federal judgeship near his wife's birthday and nominated just before his birthday.
He said yesterday's news means, "Now we're really going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day."
Contact Meghan Gilbert at: