HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Pennsylvania (Group) » Background on Judge McGin...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 09:16 AM

Background on Judge McGinley (voter ID law case)

His mother was Marie Rooney McGinley, which makes him part of the Rooney aristocracy (Art Rooney/Steelers) in Pittsburgh. He and his wife have four children and live in Pittsburgh. He attended Central Catholic High School and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from John Carroll University in Ohio in 1967, having attended Loyola University of Rome for the school year 1965-66. In 1970 he received his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Unlike our pathetic governor Corbett, McGinley did not have to go to an out-of-state, 4th class law school on the Tex-Mex border to get a law degree!

He completed Basic Officer's Training at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, in 1971, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain from the U.S. Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps in 1976. I sincerely hope that his years working with the Army Medical Service Corps gave him experience in how difficult it would be for people with physical handicaps (and that includes many of Pennsylvania's high percentage of elderly voters) to get to some state drivers' license bureaus to get voter IDs. As one person just testified in this trial, when she called the bureau to ask about accommodations for handicapped, she was told to expect a FOUR HOUR WAIT!

McGinley then clerked for a well-respected judge, followed by a three year stint as an assistant district attorney, 2 years teaching law, and several years in private practice & as chairman of the County Board of Viewers before becoming a judge at the county level. After 6 years as a county judge, he was elected to the Commonwealth Court (an intermediate appellate level court) where he has since been re-elected twice - serving from 1988 to the present.

In addition to the full time elected position as an appellate judge,
on September 22, 2009 Judge McGinley was appointed to the Court of Judicial Discipline by the Supreme Court. He was elected President Judge in July 2012.

This tells me that he is extremely well-respected as an ethical person by his fellow judges.
Finally, found this interesting commentary on Judge McGinley from 2007.
http://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2007/10/joe-paterno-may-not-vote-to-retain.html

Headline: Joe Paterno May Not Vote to Retain Judge Bernard McGinley, But I Will
I don't think PSU's Joe Paterno is too crazy about Bernard McGinley as a Commonwealth Court judge. Baseball fans might not like him much, either. But I'll be voting to retain this Democrat on election day.

Who is Barney McGinley?

The League of Women Voters gives us some biographical information. A Pittsburgh native, Judge McGinley got a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1970. After that, he served in the reserves and was an assistant DA for four years. He also spent six years as a judge before being elected to the Commonwealth Court in 1988. He has been married to the same woman since 1973, and has never personally been involved in litigation. If retained, he will reach mandatory retirement age in 2016.


His 210 reported online rulings are quite sound. In a well-reasoned decision, he struck down a "zero tolerance policy" that would have resulted in the expulsion of a straight "A" student caught with a small pen knife. He sustained an attorney's fee award against high power legal eagle John Karoly , in a dispute John had with South Whitehall Township. He wisely dissented from a ruling awarding $20,000 to a police officer who found that money in a bag during a routine traffic stop. I can't help feeling that a dirty cop will have all kinds of excuses to "find" money. McGinley also supported a strict reading of zoning law for residents who objected to a cell tower.


He's a very clear and fair-minded judge. Lawyers who practice before him seem to like him. The Pa. bar makes this observation, "He treats lawyers fairly and courteously and is held in the highest regard for his legal knowledge and analytical abilities."

3 replies, 1736 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply Background on Judge McGinley (voter ID law case) (Original post)
Divernan Jul 2013 OP
JPZenger Jul 2013 #1
Divernan Jul 2013 #3
Divernan Jul 2013 #2

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 11:17 AM

1. he should be on the State Supreme Court

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to JPZenger (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 01:41 PM

3. Unfortunately, he hits mandatory retirement age in 2016.

That being age 70 for judges, under Pennsylvania's constitution.
The mandatory retirement age was written into Pennsylvania law as part of the 1967-68 constitutional convention, and under the law can only be changed with legislation being passed in two consecutive sessions to be followed by a statewide referendum.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/pa-high-court-rejects-changing-mandatory-retirement-for-judges-692087/#ixzz2ZKFiOHHR

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Divernan (Original post)

Wed Jul 17, 2013, 01:33 PM

2. Here's the 2007 link to Paterno

Meant to include this in the original post. It's from the link in the OP

Despite his strong ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers, McGinley has ruled against Pennsylvania's most revered sports hero - Coach Joe Paterno. McGinley is the jurist who ordered Penn State officials to disclose Papa Joe's salary. “Access to this information allows the public to meaningfully evaluate the wisdom and appropriateness of these state appropriations.” That decision has been appealed to the state high court.

Actually, McGinley's Penn State decision is designed to make state funded organizations more open and accountable to the public. It's the right call.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread