As other judges witness the investiture ceremony, Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley (of the Southern District of Ohio) administers the oath of office to U.S. Federal District Court Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Photo provided

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

CINCINNATI – The investiture ceremony for Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins as a U.S. Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of Ohio was held June 28 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, with Chief Judge Algenon L. Marbley, of the Southern District of Ohio, administering the oath of office. 

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) recommended Judge Hopkins to President Joe Biden for  nomination to fill a vacancy left when Judge Timothy S. Black took senior status in May. 

The Southern District has court locations in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton and serves more than five million Ohioans in 48 counties. 

Brown introduced Judge Hopkins at his nomination hearing in October.

At the investiture ceremony, Brown said, “Judge Jeffery Hopkins has dedicated his entire career to the pursuit of justice. It’s why Senator Rob Portman and I both recommended Judge Hopkins to serve our state. Judge Hopkins story embodies the best in our country, and helped shape Jeff’s perspective on the bench. Today, he becomes the first African American federal district judge ever appointed in Cincinnati.”

Prior to his appointment to be a U.S. Federal District Court Judge in December, Jeffery P. Hopkins was the chief bankruptcy judge on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio, where he had served since 1996 and had been the Chief Judge since 2014.  He was previously an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from 1990 to 1996. Hopkins was also an associate at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs LLP) from 1987 to 1990. He served as a law clerk for Judge Alan Norris on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1986 to 1987 and on the Ohio Court of Appeals from 1985 to 1986. Hopkins received his J.D. from The Ohio State University in 1985 and his B.A. from Bowdoin College in 1982.

Judge Jeffery P. Hopkins makes remarks following his investiture as a judge in the U.S. Federal District Court. Photo provided

Chief Justice Roberts appointed Judge Hopkins to both the Judicial Conference of the United State Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules and the Judicial Conference’s Judicial Branch Committee.

When Judge Hopkins was nominated, Brown said at that announcement that Judge Hopkins’ “breadth of experience will serve him well as a district court judge.”

Yet, Judge Hopkins’ service is not limited to the law, Brown added.

As a volunteer at the Ohio Law and Leadership Institute – which educates and prepares students from underserved communities about the law and legal careers – Judge Hopkins understands the rights and responsibilities that are part of meaningful, active citizenship and is committed to our basic, democratic values and the next generation of leaders.

In 2008, the Ohio Supreme Court started The Institute, and its growth and success would not have been possible without the support of Ohio’s law schools and volunteers like Judge Hopkins.

He has also served as President of the Board of the Cincinnati Museum Center – steering the city’s institutions to a more successful, viable future.

Judge Hopkins’ life is an American story.  His family, as part of the great migration, moved from Georgia to Ohio, settling in Canton.  His parents moved north for greater security and opportunity for their family, and his achievements remind us of the power and the vibrancy of the American dream.

Judge Hopkins’ father, Eddie Hopkins Jr., supported his family as an autoworker at Ford’s Walton Hills Stamping plant and as a member of UAW Local 420. 

Present at the nomination announcement were Eddie, Judge Hopkins’ sisters, Cynthia Hopkins and Patricia Williams, and his wife, Michelle. He also has a daughter, Hayleigh, and son, Jeffrey Arthur.

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