Judge Frederick D. Nelson was appointed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to fill the remainder of an unexpired term on the Tenth District Court of Appeals effective March 25, 2019. He had served as Senior Advisor and Director of Major Litigation for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office from January 2011–January 2019. Before that (from 2003-2009), he was a Judge on the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
Fred Nelson’s earlier government service included work in the federal government as Majority Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Criminal Law, as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy in the Reagan Justice Department, as Associate White House Counsel under the first President Bush, and as the first Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel for Ohio Representative Steve Chabot.
In the private sector, he practiced civil litigation with a major Ohio law firm both before and after his White House stint. He also ran a public policy development firm, and appeared as a regular panelist on the Cincinnati ABC-affiliate’s public affairs TV roundtable Hotseat. Shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, he worked on legal reform issues with the office of the Counsel to the President of Ukraine in Kiev and with the Committee on Legislation of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow, both posts under the auspices of the American Bar Association’s Central and East European Law Initiative. He also volunteered services in Albania through the International Republican Institute.
Judge Nelson’s other past civic endeavors included efforts as President of his then-local Harvard Club and as first President of the lawyers’ division for a Federalist Society chapter, as a member of the Ohio State Board on Uniform State Laws and of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and as a judicial representative on Ohio’s Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervision. He was a member of the advisory group established by then-Senators DeWine and Voinovich to screen potential federal Marshal, U.S. Attorney, and judicial nominees; he served on the initial planning committee to establish the Frank Duveneck House community arts center; and he taught Constitutional Law as an Adjunct Professor at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law.
Fred Nelson was Ohio’s was Ohio’s 1978 Truman Scholar, with that federal grant (then awarded to one student from each State) extended to four years. He was valedictorian of his class at Hamilton College and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, where he was named best oral advocate as his team won the Ames Moot Court competition. He and his wife Shannon live in the Columbus area with their two children.