Newly appointed US Federal Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan was inducted during a ceremony attended by high-ranking government officials–distinguished judges–colleagues–and friends. Speakers praised him–describing his elevation to the federal bench as "an American success story."
US Attorney General John Ashcroft told the standing-room only crowd at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse that Der-Yeghiayan’s integrity and compassion were an inspiration to him; he described Judge Der-Yeghiayan as a very special friend. "This is a happy day for Sam–but also a happy day for America–for freedom and human potential. Sam not only believes in noble ideas–but he [also] practices them. This nation needs more men and women–more boys and girls–who will follow in Sam’s footsteps," he said.
Chief Judge Joel M. Flaum of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals made the motion for Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s induction. He described Der-Yeghiayan as a man of "faith–family and flag with unquestioned integrity and competence; a modest man who does not seek awards," calling him "my brother Sam–who has expanded my horizon."
Chief US District Judge Charles P. Kocoras noted that this was the only time in his professional life that he was entertaining a motion from the Chief Judge of an Appeals Court. After the Court Clerk read President George W. Bush’s appointment commission–Chief Judge Kocoras administered the oath–while Der-Yeghiayan’s parents–Hagop and Lydia–and his wife Becky held the Armenian Bible that Der-Yeghiayan’s father gave to his mother the day Der-Yeghiayan was born.
After donning his black judicial robe–Judge Der-Yeghiayan ascended the bench and greeted each judge–to a standing ovation from the guests. He took his seat to the right of the Chief Judge and remained there while dignitaries and colleagues praised his professional achievemen’s and determination to serve his adopted country. The speakers included Der-Yeghiayan’s brother Dr. Garbis Der-Yeghiayan–the President of Mashdots College in Glendale–who read letters of congratulations and blessing from His Holiness Karekin II–Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenia’s–and His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Great See of Cilicia. Administrative Law Judge of the Social Security Administration Martin F. Spiegel and US Immigration Judge Jennie Giambastiani also spoke and praised Judge Der-Yeghiayan for his legal expertise.
Judge Der-Yeghiayan spoke briefly–thanking his wife–parents–family members–and the Ashcroft family that befriended him while he was a college student. He also expressed his deepest gratitude to President George W. Bush for nominating him–Senator Fitzgerald for recommending him–Senator Richard J. Durbin for supporting his nomination–as well as the Senators who unanimously confirmed him.
The benediction was given by Rev. William Ilnisky of the Lighthouse Assembly of God Church and former missionary in Lebanon–a special friend who had played a major role in Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s immigration to the United States and his admission to Evangel University on a soccer scholarship.
At the conclusion of the ceremony–Senator Fitzgerald congratulated Judge Der-Yeghiayan and said–"I believe he will be an independent–diligent and fair member of the federal bench."