YOUNGSTOWN Panel OKs bill to name courthouse

An aide says the senator hopes the bill can be approved by mid-October.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A U.S. Senate panel has approved a bill to name the newly-opened $22 million Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse for senior Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a prominent Youngstown native.
U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich announced Thursday that the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee had approved the bill, which he introduced earlier this year. The bill will go before the full Senate.
"Judge Jones has had a distinguished career through the years. As a champion of civil rights, he spearheaded the drive against school segregation," Voinovich said. "The new courthouse is a wonderful addition to downtown Youngstown, and it's appropriate that it bear the name of such a distinguished legal mind and Youngstown native," he added.
At the request of former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., the U.S. House of Representatives voted 410-0 last November to name the building for both Judge Jones and the late Judge Frank J. Battisti, a U.S. District Judge in Cleveland, both leaders in school desegregation efforts.
Judge Battisti, also a former Mahoning County Common Pleas judge, died in October 1994 at the age of 72. Appointed to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy, Battisti issued a landmark decision ordering desegregation of Cleveland schools.
Accepting Senate version
Since last year's vote, House of Representatives members concerned with naming the building have agreed to accept the Senate version, said Scott Milburn, Sen. Voinovich's communications director. The House version will be set aside and the House will agree to the Senate version, Milburn said.
"It's the senator's hope that this bill can be approved by [both houses of] Congress before it leaves for autumn recess, if not sooner," Milburn said. That recess usually begins in mid-October.
The bill would have to pass both houses by the end of this year, which is the end of this Congress, or be re-introduced next year in the new Congressional session.
Having obtained his bachelor's and law degrees from Youngstown State University, Judge Jones was executive director of the Fair Employment Practices Commission from 1956-59, and general counsel for the NAACP from 1969-79 before being appointed to the Cincinnati-based appellate court by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
The new four-story building at 10 E. Commerce St., which opened earlier this month, houses U.S. Bankruptcy Court and several federal agencies. A formal dedication is scheduled for next month.

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