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Sharon Coleman

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Sharon Coleman
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #21
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Approval vote:   86-0
Active:   7/13/2010-Present
Preceded by:   Mark Filip
Personal History
Born:   1960
Hometown:   Chicago, IL
Undergraduate:   Northern Illinois University, 1981
Law School:   Washington University School of Law, 1984

Sharon Johnson Coleman is a judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She was nominated by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2010, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 12, 2010.[1]


Judge Coleman graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1981 with a B.A. in History. She went on to receive her J.D. degree in 1984 from Washington University School of Law.[1]

Professional career

Judicial career

Northern District of Illinois

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Sharon Coleman
 Court:Northern District of Illinois
 Progress:Confirmed 138 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:February 24, 2010
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAHearing:March 10, 2010
ApprovedAReported:April 15, 2010 
ApprovedAConfirmed:July 12, 2010
 Vote: 86-0

President Barack Obama nominated Coleman to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on February 24, 2010. Obama called Coleman one "of our nation’s best and brightest."[3]

Coleman received a rating of Unanimously Well Qualified from the American Bar Association.[4]

Judiciary Committee hearing

Coleman's Public Questionnaire Available Here
Questions for the Record available here

Coleman had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 10, 2010.[5] She was reported to the Senate on April 15, 2010.

Senate confirmation

On July 12, 2010, the U.S. Senate voted 86-0 to confirm Coleman to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.[6]

Notable cases

Allowing same-sex marriages early in Cook County (2014)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Lee v. Orr, 13-cv-8719)

Judge Sharon Coleman was the presiding judge in case where a Cook County couple sued to be married before the law allowing gay marriage, in Illinois took effect on June 1, 2014. In November of 2013 the Illinois General Assembly passed a law that allowed same sex couples to marry in the State of Illinois. Illinois law states any law passed after May 31st does not go into effect until June 1st the following year. The plaintiffs in the case, Brenda Lee and Lee Edwards, initially sued the Cook County clerk's office to be able to marry in cases where one or both partners were terminally ill prior to the June 1, 2014 date. After being granted the right to married if terminally ill, the plaintiffs brought another case before the court asking that all gay and lesbian couples be afforded the right to marry before the June 1st enactment date. Their case focused on the unconstitutionality of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, if terminally ill couples marriage could be recognized then all should be recognized.[7] On February 21, 2014, Judge Coleman ruled in favor of the couple allowing same sex marriages to proceed immediately in Cook County, Illinois. Since it was not covered in the ruling, couples wishing to covert their civil union into a marriage had to wait until the June 1st enactment date.[8]

Judge vacates ruling on NSA surveillance evidence (2013)

     United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (U.S. v. Daoud, 1:12-cr-00723)

On September 1, 2013, Judge Coleman vacated her own ruling in a case involving constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the underlying case, Adel Daoud, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, was charged in a terrorism case after being accused of trying to detonate what he believed to be a bomb in downtown Chicago. Daoud was allegedly identified as a potential terrorist through an examination of his online footprint. Judge Coleman initially found on August 28, 2013, that because the government did not intend to use it at trial, federal prosecutors did not need to provide information as to whether its evidence against Daoud was based on data gleaned from the National Security Agency’s enhanced surveillance techniques. Days later, Judge Coleman changed course, reopening debate to “allow further examination” as to the nature of the government’s classified evidence against Daoud.[9][10][11]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Mark Filip
Northern District of Illinois
Seat #21
Succeeded by: