The United States Senate on Wednesday confirmed two judges for seats on
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Senators confirmed Philadelphia attorney Gerald McHugh and northeastern Pennsylvania Judge Edward Smith to sit on the federal bench in eastern Pennsylvania.
The two were nominated by President Obama back in August.
“I’m pleased that the Senate voted to confirm these two highly qualified
nominees to the federal bench,” U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said in a statement.
Casey called McHugh an “excellent lawyer who has worked tirelessly for justice for all Pennsylvanians throughout his legal career,” and he said that Smith has an “unparalleled record of service as a U.S. Navy JAG officer and a military judge.”
The senator also said the northeastern Pennsylvania jurist is “universally respected.”
Smith has served as a trial judge on the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas since 2002, according to a professional biography.
Also a captain in the United States Navy, Smith has served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, or JAG, since the early 1980s.
Smith previously worked as a partner at the law firm DeRaymond & Smith from 1990 to 2001 and he served as solicitor to the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority and for Upper Nazareth Township.
Smith is a graduate of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law.
McHugh is currently a partner at the Philadelphia law firm of Raynes McCarty, where he has worked in civil litigation since 2004, specializing in medical malpractice, unsafe products, aviation disasters, civil rights and workplace accident cases, according to his biography.
McHugh was a shareholder at Litvin, Blumberg, Matusow & Young from 1981 to 2004 before joining Raynes McCarty, and he served as a law clerk to Alfred L. Luongo, a federal judge on the Philadelphia bench, from 1979 to 1981.
McHugh, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, has served as the president of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network since 2004.
He is also involved with Lawyers Concerned for Kids Foundation, Hospitality House of Pennsylvania, Lawyers Trust Account Board, West Philadelphia Fire House Project, and Hospitality House of Philadelphia, which he co-founded.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania congratulated both men on their confirmations.
“Judge Edward Smith is a dedicated, intelligent jurist who has served as a judge on the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas for the past 12 years,” Toomey said. “Gerald McHugh is a lifelong Philadelphia resident who has more than three decades of private practice experience.
“The approval of these two excellent candidates demonstrates the strength and effectiveness of our bipartisan system, which has led to the confirmation of 10 highly qualified men and women to the federal bench in Pennsylvania since I joined the Senate in 2011.”
Smith will be sitting in Easton, Northamptom County, which has been without a federal judge since 2004.
McHugh will be located at the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Philadelphia.
The votes for the jurists were relatively close: the Legal Intelligencer reported that it was 59-41 for McHugh and 69 to 31 for Smith.