Judge Nathaniel Jones passed away yesterday. He was a Cincinnati icon, having served as the first African American AUSA in the Northern District of Ohio, leading the civil rights litigation efforts of the NAACP during the 1970s, and serving on the Sixth Circuit for more than twenty years. For those wishing to review his career, there are already a number of moving obituaries available online as is his autobiography.
As I knew him, in the last years of his life, Judge Jones was kind, generous with his time, and courteous in a way that few now are. You could not talk to him without coming away with the impression that here was one of the great and the good. Our profession can lead us to become prickly, self-aggrandizing, and quick to judge others. But Judge Jones came away from his legal battles with both strength and charity. We will miss him.