Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Who Is Thomas Kirsch?

( Zolnierek/Getty Images)

Thomas Kirsch is President Trump’s nominee to fill Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A lifelong Indiana resident, Kirsch is currently the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, where he serves as his district’s chief federal law-enforcement officer.

After graduating with highest distinction from Indiana University, Kirsch attended Harvard Law School. He then returned to Indiana, where he served as a law clerk to Judge John Daniel Tinder on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Kirsch has had a distinguished legal career, serving in government and working in private practice. From 2001–2008, he worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Indiana. As an AUSA, Kirsch focused on white-collar investigations and prosecutions, including the prosecution of numerous elected and appointed public officials.

During that time, he also spent a year serving as counsel to the assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy. While there, he assisted in developing legislative and policy proposals in corporate crime, violent crime, and counterterrorism. Before becoming the U.S. attorney for the Northern District, Kirsch was a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn, where he litigated complex commercial and criminal matters in trial and appellate courts across the country.

Over the course of his career, Kirsch has tackled tax and health-care fraud, conspiracy, extortion, money laundering, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. He successfully prosecuted gangs and drug dealers. And, shortly after being named U.S. attorney, he announced the arrest of a man accused of sending a bomb that exploded in a post office.

For his work, Kirsch has received numerous awards, including the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance and awards from The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, Law360, and Benchmark Litigation. Colleagues have said that Kirsch “has a great legal mind and is a fearless litigator who has shown a willingness to take on powerful interests,” and that his “work ethic is second to none.”

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