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United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania


United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
(W.D. Pa.)
Seal of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Appeals to Third Circuit
Established April 20, 1818
Judges assigned 10
Chief judge Joy Flowers Conti
Official site

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (in case citations, W.D. Pa.) sits in Pittsburgh, Erie, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. It is composed of ten judges as authorized by federal law. Steven Richard Frank is currently the nominee of President Barack Obama (as of June 2011) to be the United States Marshal for the Western Pennsylvania District Court. Appeals from this court are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


  • History 1
  • Current judges 2
  • Vacancies and pending nominations 3
  • Former judges 4
  • Succession of seats 5
  • United States Attorneys 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9


The United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789.[1][2] It was subdivided on April 20, 1818, by 3 Stat. 462,[1][2] into the Eastern and Western Districts to be headquartered in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively.[1] The court began its first session on December 7, 1818 at the Old County Courthouse in Pittsburgh. [1] Portions of these districts were subsequently subdivided into the Middle District on March 2, 1901, by 31 Stat. 880.[2] At the time of its initial subdivision, presiding judge Richard Peters, Jr. was reassigned to only the Eastern District. This made it possible for President James Monroe to appoint Jonathan Hoge Walker as the first judge of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The Erie courthouse and division was split from Pittsburgh for initial actions in January 1867, with the Johnstown courthouse and division being split from Pittsburgh for initial actions in 1989.[2]

Current judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
49 Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti Pittsburgh 1948 2002–present 2013–present G.W. Bush
50 District Judge David S. Cercone Pittsburgh 1952 2002–present G.W. Bush
52 District Judge Arthur J. Schwab Pittsburgh 1946 2002–present G.W. Bush
53 District Judge Kim R. Gibson Johnstown 1948 2003–present G.W. Bush
55 District Judge Nora Barry Fischer Pittsburgh 1951 2007–present G.W. Bush
56 District Judge Cathy Bissoon Pittsburgh 1968 2011–present Obama
57 District Judge Mark R. Hornak Pittsburgh 1956 2011–present Obama
58 District Judge vacant
59 District Judge vacant
60 District Judge vacant
34 Senior District Judge Maurice Blanchard Cohill Jr. Erie / Pittsburgh 1929 1976–1994 1985–1992 1994–present Ford
36 Senior District Judge Gustave Diamond Pittsburgh 1928 1978–1994 1992–1994 1994–present Carter
38 Senior District Judge Alan Neil Bloch Pittsburgh 1932 1979–1997 1997–present Carter
41 Senior District Judge William Lloyd Standish Pittsburgh 1930 1987–2002 2002–2012 Reagan
45 Senior District Judge Donetta W. Ambrose Pittsburgh 1945 1993–2010 2002–2009 2010–present Clinton
51 Senior District Judge Terrence F. McVerry Pittsburgh 1943 2002–2013 2013–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
1 Gary L. Lancaster Death April 24, 2013
5 Sean J. McLaughlin Resignation August 16, 2013
2 Terrence F. McVerry Senior Status September 30, 2013

Former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Walker, Jonathan HogeJonathan Hoge Walker PA 1754–1824 1818–1824 Monroe,Monroe death
2 Wilkins, WilliamWilliam Wilkins PA 1779–1865 1824–1831 Monroe,Monroe resignation
3 Irwin, ThomasThomas Irwin PA 1785–1870 1831–1859[3] Jackson,Jackson resignation
4 McCandless, WilsonWilson McCandless PA 1810–1882 1859–1876 Buchanan,Buchanan retirement
5 Ketcham, Winthrop WellesWinthrop Welles Ketcham PA 1820–1879 1876–1879 Grant,Grant death
6 Acheson, Marcus WilsonMarcus Wilson Acheson PA 1828–1906 1880–1891 Hayes,Hayes reappointment
7 Reed, James HayJames Hay Reed PA 1853–1927 1891–1892 Harrison, B.B. Harrison resignation
8 Buffington, JosephJoseph Buffington PA 1855–1947 1892–1906 Harrison, B.B. Harrison reappointment
9 Ewing, NathanielNathaniel Ewing PA 1848–1914 1906–1908[4] Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt resignation
10 Young, James ScottJames Scott Young PA 1848–1914 1908–1914 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
11 Orr, Charles PrentissCharles Prentiss Orr PA 1858–1922 1909–1922 Taft,Taft death
12 Thomson, W. H. SewardW. H. Seward Thomson PA 1856–1932 1914–1928 1928–1932 Wilson,Wilson death
13 Gibson, Robert MurrayRobert Murray Gibson PA 1869–1949 1922–1949 1948–1949 1949–1949 Harding,Harding death
14 Schoonmaker, Frederic PalenFrederic Palen Schoonmaker PA 1870–1945 1922–1945 Harding,Harding death
15 McVicar, NelsonNelson McVicar PA 1871–1960 1928–1951[5] 1949–1951 1951–1960 Coolidge,Coolidge death
16 Gourley, Wallace SamuelWallace Samuel Gourley PA 1904–1976 1945–1969 1951–1969 1969–1976 Truman,Truman death
17 Follmer, Frederick VorisFrederick Voris Follmer PA 1885–1971 1946–1955 Truman,Truman reassignment
18 Burns, Owen McIntoshOwen McIntosh Burns PA 1892–1952 1949–1952[6] Truman,Truman death
19 Marsh, Jr., Rabe FergusonRabe Ferguson Marsh, Jr. PA 1905–1993 1950–1977 1969–1975 1977–1993 Truman,Truman death
20 Stewart, William AlvahWilliam Alvah Stewart PA 1903–1953 1951–1953 Truman,Truman death
21 Willson, Joseph PutnamJoseph Putnam Willson PA 1902–1998 1953–1968 1968–1998 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
22 Miller, John LesterJohn Lester Miller PA 1901–1978 1954–1971 1971–1978 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
23 McIlvaine, John WilsonJohn Wilson McIlvaine PA 1907–1963 1955–1963 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
24 Sorg, Herbert PeterHerbert Peter Sorg PA 1911–1979 1955–1976 1975–1976 1976–1979 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
25 Dumbauld, EdwardEdward Dumbauld PA 1905–1997 1961–1976 1976–1997 Kennedy,Kennedy death
26 Rosenberg, LouisLouis Rosenberg PA 1898–1999 1961–1976[7] 1976–1999 Kennedy,Kennedy death
27 Weber, Gerald JosephGerald Joseph Weber PA 1914–1989 1964–1988 1976–1982 1988–1989 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
28 Weis Jr., Joseph FrancisJoseph Francis Weis Jr. PA 1923–2014 1970–1973 Nixon,Nixon reappointment
29 Knox, William W.William W. Knox PA 1911–1981 1970–1981 Nixon,Nixon death
30 Teitelbaum, Hubert IrvingHubert Irving Teitelbaum PA 1915–1995 1970–1985 1982–1985 1985–1995 Nixon,Nixon death
31 McCune, Barron PattersonBarron Patterson McCune PA 1915–2008 1970–1985 1985–2008 Nixon,Nixon death
32 Scalera, Ralph FrancisRalph Francis Scalera PA 1930–2011 1971–1976 Nixon,Nixon resignation
33 Snyder, Jr., Daniel JohnDaniel John Snyder, Jr. PA 1916–1980 1973–1980 Nixon,Nixon death
35 Simmons, Paul AllenPaul Allen Simmons PA 1921–2014 1978–1990 1990–2014 Carter,Carter death
37 Ziegler, Donald EmilDonald Emil Ziegler PA 1936–present 1978–2001 1994–2001 2001–2003 Carter,Carter retirement
39 Mansmann, Carol LosCarol Los Mansmann PA 1942–2002 1982–1985 Reagan,Reagan reappointment
40 Mencer, Glenn EverellGlenn Everell Mencer PA 1925–2007 1982–1994 1994–2007 Reagan,Reagan death
42 Smith, D. BrooksD. Brooks Smith PA 1951–present 1988–2002 2001–2002 Reagan,Reagan reappointment
43 Lee, Donald J.Donald J. Lee PA 1927–2011 1990–2000 2000–2011 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush death
44 Lewis, Timothy K.Timothy K. Lewis PA 1954–present 1991–1993 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush reappointment
46 Lancaster, Gary L.Gary L. Lancaster PA 1949–2013 1993–2013 2009–2013 Clinton,Clinton death
47 Cindrich, Robert J.Robert J. Cindrich PA 1943–present 1994–2004 Clinton,Clinton resignation
48 McLaughlin, Sean J.Sean J. McLaughlin PA 1955–present 1994–2013 2013–2013 Clinton,Clinton resignation
54 Hardiman, ThomasThomas Hardiman PA 1965–present 2003–2007 Bush, G.W.G.W. Bush reappointment

Succession of seats

United States Attorneys


See also


  1. ^ a b c Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 388.
  2. ^ a b c U.S. District Courts of Pennsylvania, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 7, 1831, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 21, 1832, and received commission on March 21, 1832.
  4. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 3, 1906, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 11, 1906, and received commission on December 11, 1906.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 6, 1928, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 17, 1928, and received commission on December 17, 1928.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1950, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 8, 1950, and received commission on March 9, 1950.
  7. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on July 10, 1962, and received commission on July 12, 1962.

External links

  • Official site
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