United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Third Circuit
Eastern district of PA seal.gif
Judges: 21
Posts: 22
Vacancies: 1
Active judges
Chief: Petrese Tucker
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Carol Wells
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It is one of the original thirteen federal judiciary districts created by the Judiciary Act of 1789.

When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Philadelphia at the James Byrne Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Zane D. Memeger.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's vacancy warning level is blue. The court currently has one vacancy of its 22 posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Petrese Tucker1951Philadelphia, PAClinton 06/01/2000 - Present5/1/2013-PresentThomas O'NeillTemple U., B.A., 1973Temple U. Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Legrome Davis1952Columbus, OHW. Bush 04/23/2002 - PresentEdmund LudwigPrinceton, B.A., 1973Rutgers U. Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Cynthia Rufe1948Philadelphia, PAW. Bush 05/03/2002 - PresentNorma ShapiroAdelphi University, 1970Buffalo SUNY, 1977
Judge Tim Savage1946Philadelphia, PAW. Bush 08/01/2002 - PresentEdward CahnAssumption College, B.A., 1968Temple U. Law, J.D., 1971
Judge James Gardner (Pennsylvania)1940Allentown, PAW. Bush 10/03/2002-PresentJan DuboisYale University, 1962Harvard Law, 1965
Judge Gene Pratter1949Chicago, ILW. Bush 06/16/2004 - PresentWilliam YohnStanford, 1971University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1975
Judge Lawrence Stengel1952Lancaster, PAW. Bush 06/21/2004 - PresentRonald BuckwalterSt. Joseph's College, B.A., 1974University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1980
Judge Paul Diamond1953Brooklyn, NYW. Bush 6/22/2004-PresentHerbert HuttonColumbia, 1974University of Pennsylvania Law, 1977
Judge Juan Sanchez1955Vega Baja, Puerto RicoW. Bush 6/24/2004-PresentJay WaldmanCity College CUNY, 1978University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981
Judge Felipe Restrepo1959Medellin, ColombiaObama 6/17/2013-PresentAnita BrodyUniversity of Pennsylvania, 1981Tulane Law, 1986
Judge Darnell Jones1949Claremore, OKW. Bush 10/30/2008 - PresentBruce KauffmanSouthwestern College, A.B., 1972The American U., J.D., 1975
Judge Mitchell Goldberg1959Philadelphia, PAW. Bush 10/31/2008 - PresentJohn PadovaIthaca College, A.B., 1981Temple U. Law, J.D., 1986
Judge Joel Slomsky1946Brooklyn, NYW. Bush 10/06/2008 - PresentJames GilesBrooklyn College CUNY, B.A., 1967New York Law , J.D., 1970
Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl1955Reading, PAObama 6/13/2013 - PresentThomas GoldenDickinson College, B.A., 1977University of Toledo Law, J.D., 1980
Judge Edward G. Smith1961Easton, Pennsylvania 3/26/2014-PresentBerle SchillerFranklin & Marshall College, B.A., 1983Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State, J.D., 1986
Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro1951Hato Rey, Puerto RicoObama 6/13/2013 - PresentBarclay SurrickUniversity of Puerto Rico, B.B.A., 1972University of Puerto Rico Law, J.D., 1975
Judge Gerald Austin McHugh, Jr1954Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3/26/2014-PresentHarvey BartleSt. Joseph's U., 976University of Pennsylvania Law, 1979
Judge Wendy Beetlestone1961Ibadan, NigeriaObama 11/20/2014-PresentMichael BaylsonLiverpool University, 1984University of Pennsylvania Law, 1993
Judge Mark A. Kearney1962Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaObama 12/3/2014Curtis JoynerVillanova University, 1984Villanova University Law, 1987
Judge Joseph F. Leeson, Jr.1955Allentown, PennsylvaniaObama 12/4/2014-PresentEduardo RobrenoDeSales University, 1977Catholic University of America Law, 1980
Judge Gerald J. Pappert1963Albany, New YorkObama 12/3/2014-PresentStewart DalzellVillanova University, 1985University of Notre Dame, 1988

Active Article III judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Harvey BartleH.W. Bush 09/16/1991 - 10/1/20112006 - 201110/1/2011 - PresentPrinceton, B.A., 1962University of Pennsylvania Law, LL.B., 1965
Senior Judge William DitterNixon 10/15/1970 - 10/18/198610/19/1986 - PresentUrsinus College, B.A., 1943University of Pennsylvania Law, LL.B., 1948
Senior Judge Norma ShapiroCarter 8/11/1978-12/30/199812/31/1998-PresentUniversity of Michigan, 1948University of Pennsylvania Law, 1951
Senior Judge Lowell ReedReagan 4/20/1988-6/20/19996/21/1999-PresentUniversity of Wisconsin, 1952Temple University Law, 1958
Senior Judge Thomas O'NeillReagan 08/05/1983 - 07/05/199607/06/1996 - PresentCatholic U. of America, A.B., 1950University of Pennsylvania, LL.B., 1953
Senior Judge Edmund LudwigReagan 10/17/1985 - 05/20/199705/20/1997 - PresentHarvard, A.B., 1949Harvard Law, LL.B., 1952
Senior Judge Robert KellyReagan 06/26/1987 - 07/16/200107/17/2001 - PresentVillanova U., B.S., 1957Temple U. Law, LL.B., 1960
Senior Judge Jan DuboisReagan 07/27/1988 - 04/14/200204/15/2002 - PresentUniversity of Pennsylvania, B.S., 1952Yale Law , LL.B., 1957
Senior Judge Ronald BuckwalterH.W. Bush 03/12/1990 - 12/10/200312/11/2003 - PresentFranklin and Marshall College, A.B., 1958College of William and Mary Law, B.C.L., 1962
Senior Judge William YohnH.W. Bush 09/16/1991 - 11/19/200311/20/2003 - PresentPrinceton, B.A., 1957Yale Law, J.D., 1960
Senior Judge John PadovaH.W. Bush 03/18/1992 - 02/10/200802/11/2008 - PresentVillanova U., A.B., 1956Temple U. Law, J.D., 1959
Senior Judge Stewart DalzellH.W. Bush 09/16/1991-10/31/201310/31/2013-PresentUniversity of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, 1965University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1969
Senior Judge Curtis JoynerH.W. Bush 04/13/1992-5/1/20132011-20135/1/2013-PresentCentral State U., Ohio, B.S., 1971Howard U. Law, J.D., 1974
Senior Judge Eduardo RobrenoH.W. Bush 06/30/1992-8/31/201209/01/2013-PresentWestfield State College, 1967Rutgers University Law, 1978
Senior Judge Anita BrodyH.W. Bush 10/02/1992 - 06/07/200906/08/2009 - PresentWellesley College, B.A., 1955Columbia Law, J.D., 1958
Senior Judge Mary McLaughlinClinton 5/30/2000-11/18/201311/19/2013-PresentGwynedd-Mercy College, 1968University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1976
Senior Judge Berle SchillerClinton 06/02/2000 - 6/18/20126/18/2012 - PresentBowdoin College, B.A., 1965New York U. Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Richard SurrickClinton 06/05/2000 - 01/31/201102/01/2011 - PresentDickinson College, B.A., 1960Dickinson College, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Michael BaylsonW. Bush 06/19/2002 - 7/13/20127/13/2012 - PresentUniversity of Pennsylvania, B.S., 1961University of Pennsylvania, LL.B., 1964
Senior Judge Donald Van ArtsdalenNixon 10/15/1970 - 10/20/198510/21/1985 - PresentUniversity of Pennsylvania Law, LL.B., 1948

Senior judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Thomas Rueter02/22/1994 - PresentUniversity of Scranton, 1977Pennsylvania State U., J.D., 1980
Chief Magistrate Judge Carol Wells06/03/1996 - PresentUniversity of Pennsylvania Law, 1985
Magistrate Judge Jacob Hart1997-PresentUniversity of PennslyvaniaUniversity of Pennslyvania
Magistrate Judge Linda Caracappa11/17/2000 - PresentPennsylvania State U., B.A., 1971Villanova Law, J.D.
Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice03/21/2005 - PresentTemple U. Law, J.D., 1986
Magistrate Judge David Strawbridge04/26/2005 - PresentBrown, 1967Villanova Law, J.D., 1971
Magistrate Judge Faith Angell05/14/1990 - PresentMount Holyoke College, A.B., 1959Temple U. Law, J.D., 1971
Magistrate Judge Henry Perkin3/2/2007 - PresentDuquesne U., 1969Duquesne Law, J.D., 1972
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Hey04/09/2007 - PresentVassar CollegeVillanova University
Magistrate Judge Lynne Sitarski10/29/2007 - PresentUniversity of Scranton, 1986
Magistrate Judge Marilyn Heffley4/21/2014-PresentUniversity of Pittsburgh, 1981Temple University Law, 1984
Magistrate Judge Richard A. Lloret5/2014-PresentRutgers University, 1979Rutgers Law, 1982


The Counties of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (click for larger map)

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The geographic jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania consists of all the following counties in the eastern part of the state of Pennsylvania.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 16007106702667714359 1231814.59.9820 (7.9%)70.816
2012 21249243334558229456 1612615.71.53351 (23.5%)5415
2011 34707481498285660737 2211913.52.95392 (27.6%)31.915
2010 658134999011580381060 3474314.568618(26.1%)1418
2009 580494897610702541294 657311413.28839(13.8)3.719
2008 2615640673668299307 57522124.8807(1.4%)22.414
2007156962108236778116002517810.85.7577 (2.3%)012
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


The United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania was one of the original thirteen districts created by the Judiciary Act of 1789. In 1818, it was divided into two districts, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District court.

In 1901, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania was carved out of the Eastern and Western districts.[14]

Date Event
September 14, 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 organized Pennsylvania as one judicial district with one authorized judgeship, appeals going to the United States Court of Appeals for the Middle Circuit.
February 13, 1801 The Judiciary Act of 1801 divided the federal courts into six circuits and assigned the District of Pennsylvania to the Third Circuit.
April 29, 1802 The Judiciary Act of 1802, although repealing the Judiciary Act of 1801, repeated breaking the federal courts into six circuits and assigning the District of Pennsylvania to the Third Circuit.
April 20, 1818 Eastern District is carved out of the District of Pennsylvania with one authorized judgeship and established as court for appeals and writs of error from decisions in the new Western District.
May 15, 1820 Congress decides that the Eastern District will no longer hear appeals and writs of error from the Western District of Pennsylvania.
March 2, 1901 The Middle District of Pennsylvania is newly-created, carved out of parts of the Eastern and Western districts.
April 1, 1904 A second judgeship is authorized for the Eastern District.
February 16, 1914 A temporary judgeship -- never made permanent -- is authorized for the Eastern District.
September 14, 1922 A temporary judgeship -- never made permanent -- is authorized for the Eastern District.
March 3, 1927 A new judgeship is authorized for the Eastern District.
June 16, 1936 A temporary judgeship is authorized for the Eastern District.
June 2, 1938 Temporary judgeship authorized in June 1936 made permanent
May 24, 1940 A temporary judgeship is authorized for the Eastern District.
December 7, 1944 Temporary judgeship authorized in May 1940 made permanent
July 24, 1946 A temporary judgeship is authorized to serve all three Pennsylvania districts.
August 3, 1949 Two additional judgeships authorized.
February 10, 1954 One additional judgeship authorized. The temporary judgeship created in July 1946 for all three districts assigned exclusively to the Middle District.
May 19, 1961 Three additional judgeships authorized.
March 18, 1966 Three temporary judgeships authorized. One of these positions is never made permanent.
June 2, 1970 Six additional judgeships authorized. Two temporary positions authorized in March 1966 made permanent.
December 1, 1990 Three additional judgeships authorized, for a total of 22 permanent judgeships. One temporary judgeship authorized.

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:[14]

Year Statute Total Seats
September 24, 1789 1 Stat. 73 1 (Whole state)
April 20, 1818 3 Stat. 462 1
April 1, 1904 33 Stat. 155 2
February 16, 1914 38 Stat. 283 3(1 Temporary)
1914 Post Expired 2
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 837 3(1 Temporary)
1925 Post Expired 2
March 3, 1927 44 Stat. 1347 3
June 16, 1936 49 Stat. 1523 4 (1 temporary)
June 2, 1938 52 Stat. 780 4
May 24, 1940 54 Stat. 219 5(1 Temporary)
December 7, 1944 58 Stat. 796 5
July 24, 1946 60 Stat. 654 6(1 shared temporary)
August 3, 1949 63 Stat. 493 8(1 shared temporary)
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 8
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 11
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 14(3 Temporary)
1969 Post Expired 13
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 19
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 22(1 Temporary)

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[15][16]

Former judges

For more about the judges of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, see category:Former federal judge, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Federal courthouse

The main gathering place for the Eastern District is at the James A. Bryne Courthouse at 601 Market Street in Philadelphia. The building was named in honor of James A. Byrne, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania from 1953 to 1973.

The courthouse stands 22 stories high. It houses courtrooms, judges' chambers, jury rooms, and prisoner holding areas. The building was significantly remodeled starting in 2000 because the original brick facade had cracked and weakened from settlement over time.[17]

The sculpture in the main entrance foyer was designed by Louise Nevelson.[18]

Judges of the Eastern District also hold court at:

  • The Robert N.C. Nix Building at 900 Market Street in Philadelphia
  • The Edward N. Cahn Federal Courthouse at 504 Hamilton Street, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
  • The Holmes Building, 101 Larry Holmes Drive, Easton, Pennsylvania.
  • The Madison Building, 400 Washington Street, Reading, Pennsylvania.

See also

External links


  1. Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Philadelphia Inquirer, "Judge tosses suit in Tacony abuse case," May 14, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Courthouse News Service, "'The Worst Abuse I Have Ever Seen'," March 26, 2013
  4. Sports World News, "NFL Concussion Lawsuit: Federal Judge Rejects Settlement With Retired Players Of $765 Million As Too Small," January 14, 2014
  5. Philadelphia Inquirer, "Judge rejects, for now, NFL concussion settlement," January 16, 2014
  6. Associated Press, "Judge again rejects deal in NFL concussion cases," April 16, 2014
  7. Los Angeles Times, "Federal judge holds off decision on NFL concussion settlement," April 16, 2014
  8. Hollywood Reporter, "Will This $1 Million Court Ruling Stop Musicians from Stage Diving?," February 14, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Legal Newsline Legal Journal, "Philly asbestos judge to let Illinois federal court decide ‘bare metal defense’ issue," March 4, 2014 (timed out)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  11. Courthouse News Service, "Judge Allows Retaliation Claim Against Pa. County," January 13, 2014
  12. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, "Dennis v. Wetzel," August 21, 2013
  13. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, "Dennis v. Wetzel," August 21, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 History of the Districts of Pennsylvania on the Federal Judicial Center website
  15. United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
  16. United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
  17. EasternScaffolding.com, "Renovation of the Byrne Federal Courthouse," accessed March 8, 2014
  18. Nevelson, L. (2007). The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend. New York: Jewish Museum (dead link)