Ross North. Sterling was a United States federal judge.
Sterling was born in Houston, Texas in the same year that his grand-uncle Ross South. Sterling became governor of the state.
Sterling was in the United States Army from 1951 to 1954, and then received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas in 1956 followed by an Bachelor of Laws from the University of Texas School of Law in 1957. He was a law clerk to John R. Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1957 to 1958, and was thereafter in private practice with the Houston firm of Vinson and Elkins until 1976. Sterling was made a partner of that firm in 1969.
Sterling was also active in Republican Party politics chairing a precinct in Houston and participating in state Republican conventions.
On April 13, 1976, President Gerald Ford nominated Sterling to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas vacated by Allen B. Hannay. Sterling was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 6, 1976, and received his commission the following day.