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President Obama Names Seven to United States District Court

WASHINGTON- Today, President Obama nominated Arenda L. Wright Allen, Judge Claire C. Cecchi, Mark Raymond Hornak, Robert David Mariani, Judge John A. Ross, Judge Esther Salas, and Judge Michael F. Urbanski to seats on the United States District Court.
 
“These outstanding candidates have shown an unwavering commitment to justice throughout their careers,” said President Obama.  “They all have long and distinguished records of service, and I am pleased to nominate them to continue serving the American people on the District Court bench.”
 
Arenda L. Wright Allen:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Arenda L. Wright Allen is a Supervisory Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to joining the Federal Public Defender’s Office in 2005, she was an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1991 to 2005 and in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia from 1990 to 1991. From 1985 to 1990, she served on active duty in the United States Navy JAG Corps and then, from 1992 to 2005, served in the United States Navy Reserves JAG Corps.  Allen received her J.D. in 1985 from North Carolina Central University of Law, and her B.S. in 1982 from Kutztown State College.

Judge Claire C. Cecchi:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Judge Claire C. Cecchi serves as a Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, a position she has held since 2006.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Cecchi spent 14 years in private practice, during which time she focused on complex civil litigation.  From 2005 to 2006, she was a partner at the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.  Previously, Judge Cecchi worked at the law firm of Carpenter, Bennett & Morrissey, where she was a partner from 2001 to 2004 and an associate from 1997 to 2001.  She was also an associate at Robinson, St. John & Wayne from 1992 to 1996 and its successor firm, Robinson, Lapidus & Livelli in 1996.  Judge Cecchi began her legal career in The Office of Corporation Counsel in New York City where she handled litigation matters.  She received her J.D. in 1989 from Fordham University School of Law and her B.A. cum laude in 1982 from Barnard College, Columbia University.
 
Mark Raymond Hornak:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Mark Raymond Hornak has been a partner at the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC since 1989, where he specializes in civil litigation, labor and employment law, media defense and governmental representation, and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.  For more than 15 years, he has also been solicitor of the Sports & Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, which owns PNC Park, Heinz Field, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, and Consol Energy Center.  Prior to joining Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC in 1982, Hornak served as a law clerk to the Honorable James M. Sprouse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He received his J.D. summa cum laude in 1981 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and his B.A. cum laude in 1978 from the University of Pittsburgh.
 
Robert David Mariani:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Robert David Mariani has spent the past 34 years as a civil litigator in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he specializes in labor and employment law.  Since 2001, he has been sole shareholder in the law firm of Robert D. Mariani, P.C.  Before that, Mariani was sole proprietor in the Law Office of Robert D. Mariani from 1993 to 2001 and was a partner in the law firm of Mariani & Greco from 1979 to 1993.  He received his J.D. cum laude in 1976 from Syracuse University College of Law and his A.B. cum laude in 1972 from Villanova University.
 
Judge John A. Ross:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
Judge John A. Ross is a Circuit Judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit for the State of Missouri, where he has served since 2000 and has been Presiding Judge since 2009.  From 1991 until his appointment to the bench, Judge Ross was County Counselor for St. Louis County.  Before that, he was the chief trial attorney of the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, where he began his legal career as an assistant prosecuting attorney in 1979.  He received his J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1979 and his B.A. from Emory University in 1976.
 
Judge Esther Salas:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
Judge Esther Salas serves as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey, a position she has held since 2006.  She previously served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of New Jersey from 1997 to 2006.  From 1995 to 1997, Judge Salas was an associate at Garces & Grabler PC.  Prior to joining the firm, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Eugene J. Codey, Jr., of the Superior Court of New Jersey.  She received her J.D. in 1994 from the Rutgers University School of Law and her B.A. in 1991 from Rutgers University.
 
Judge Michael F. Urbanski:  Nominee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
Judge Michael F. Urbanski has been a Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia since 2004.  Judge Urbanski came to the bench from the Virginia-based law firm, Woods Rogers, where he had been an associate from 1984 to 1988 and a partner from 1989 to 2004.  From 1982 to 1984, he worked in the Washington D.C. office of Vinson & Elkins, LLP.  His private practice focused on civil litigation, with substantial experience in the area of business torts, antitrust, unfair competition, and intellectual property law.  From 1981 to 1982 he served as a law clerk to the Honorable James C. Turk of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.  Judge Urbanski graduated from the College of William and Mary, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, with an A.B. degree in 1978, and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1981.