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Notice of Judicial Nomination Commission Chairperson and Vice-Chair

Monday, January 30, 2023

(Washington, DC) – Members of the bench, bar and public are hereby notified by the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission (the “Commission”) that it selected the Honorable Marie C. Johns to serve as Chairperson. Further, the Commission selected Benjamin F. Wilson, Esquire, to serve as Vice-Chair. See D.C. Code § 1-204.34(c)(2).

The Honorable Marie C. Johns is the founder and chief executive officer of PPC-Leftwich, a minority/woman-owned firm focused on operational effectiveness and public policy consulting. A corporate leader, entrepreneur, and former civil servant, Marie was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to serve as deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2010 until 2013. As chief operating officer, she managed the nearly $1 billion agency and its 2,000 employees nationwide. Her initiatives resulted in the SBA lending more than $30 million to over 60,000 small businesses, a record in SBA lending. During her tenure, Marie chaired the President’s Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development. She also created the SBA’s Council on Underserved Communities and developed “Start Young,” an SBA/U.S. Department of Labor initiative to provide entrepreneurial training to Job Corps students.

For over 25 years, Marie held senior positions in the telecommunications industry and retired as president of Verizon-Washington. In that position, she was responsible for more than 1,800 employees and nearly 800,000 customers. Under her leadership, the company developed, gained approval, and executed a regulatory plan that continues to serve as a model for the corporation.

Throughout her career, Marie has been a tireless advocate for leveraging corporate resources for the greater community good and is the recipient of numerous business and civic awards. Marie has chaired several boards, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington DC, Leadership Greater Washington, and the DC Chamber of Commerce. She also has served on the board of the Girl Scouts USA. Marie has been named a “Leader of the Year” by the Greater Washington Board of Trade and is a Washington Business Hall of Fame Laureate.

Marie was the founding chair of the Howard University (HU) Middle School of Mathematics and Science. Since 2014 she has served as a member of the University’s Board of Trustees, where she is chair of the Student Life Committee and vice-chair of the Governance Committee. She also chairs the HU School of Divinity Board of Visitors and is interim chair of the College of Dentistry Board of Visitors.

Marie is the lead independent director and Governance Committee chair of City First Bank, created from the 2020 merger of DC’s City First Bank and LA’s Broadway Financial Services, creating the largest Black-led Minority Depository Institution (MDI) in history.

A 2013 recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (D.H.L.) from Howard University, Marie earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Public Administration, from Indiana University (IU). She is a founding member of the Indiana University Dean’s Council of the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. In 2021, she was presented with IU’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Marie also holds honorary degrees from Trinity University (Washington, DC) and the University of the District of Columbia.

Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq., recognized by The American Lawyer with its Lifetime Achievement Award in December 2021, hails from Jackson, Mississippi. After graduating from Harvard Law School, Ben worked at thelaw firm of King & Spalding, focusing on litigation and tax matters. He joined the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in 1979. At the Justice Department, he gained substantial trial expertise in commercial litigation matters, appearing on behalf of the government in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Claims, and district courts throughout the United States. While at the Justice Department, Ben received Special Achievement Awards in recognition of his performance in 1981 and 1982.

Ben joined the law firm of Beveridge & Diamond PC in 1986 and retired in December 2021 after serving multiple terms as firm Chairman. Before joining Beveridge & Diamond, Ben was an associate at Rose, Schmidt, Chapman, Duff, and Hasley. He later became a partner in the firm, focusing on civil litigation.

Beveridge & Diamond, Ben was lead counsel in numerous complex environmental litigation and regulatory matters for major consumer product corporations, retailers, oil and gas companies, municipalities, and developers. He served as the Court-Appointed Monitor for the Duke Energy coal ash spill remediation project and as Deputy Monitor for Emissions & Environmental in the Volkswagen AG emissions proceedings. He previously served as lead counsel at the largest chromium site in the United States. Ben also counseled clients on environmental justice representations and is a recognized leader on diversity and inclusion issues in the legal profession.

A tireless advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, working with others, Ben established the African American General Counsel and Managing Partner Networks in 2012 and founded the Diverse Partners Network in 2008. Ben has been recognized for his leadership by numerous organizations and publications, including receiving the Justice Potter Stewart Award from the Council for Court Excellence in 2022. He was listed among the “Most Influential Black Lawyers of the Decade” by Lawyers of Color in 2021 and named a Washington Hall of Fame Honoree in 2020, to name a few.

Ben has served and continues to serve on numerous Boards, holding positions of leadership. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Environmental Law at the Howard University School of Law and co-founded the Howard Energy and Environmental Law Society. He has been a guest lecturer at the law schools of leading universities, including American University, Catholic University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Tulane University, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and Washington University in St. Louis. In 2018, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education featured Ben in the “Black Scholars Matter” series, celebrating Black academicians and their work.

Questions shall be directed to the Commission at (202) 879-0478 or [email protected].

Members of the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission

The Honorable Marie C. Johns
PPC-Leftwich
1400 K Street, NW
Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005-2403
(202) 434-9124
[email protected]

Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq.
7825 Orchid Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20012
(202) 657-2534
[email protected] 

Addy R. Schmitt, Esq.
Miller & Chevalier, Chtd.
900 16th Street, NW
Black Lives Matter Plaza
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 626-5837
[email protected]

Vincent H. Cohen, Jr., Esq.
Dechert LLP
1900 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006-1110
(202) 261-3432
[email protected]

Yaida O. Ford, Esq.
Ford Law Pros P.C.
1001 L Street, SE
Washington, DC, 20003
(202) 792-4946
[email protected]  

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp
4001 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20011
(202) 726-0505
[email protected]

The Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan
United States District Court   
for the District of Columbia
United States Courthouse
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20001 
(202) 354-3390
[email protected]