How will John Fetterman influence federal judge candidates?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – One job that United States Senators are charged with is nominating judges for federal courtrooms. Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey have been commended for their ability to work together to quickly fill vacancies in Pennsylvania. But how will the arrival of John Fetterman affect that process?

Harrisburg’s brand new federal courthouse will likely have one less federal judge sitting inside.

“There’s a good chance my seat will go north,” said former federal judge and current Dickinson College president John Jones.

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Jones announced his retirement from the bench in May 2021. After accepting a position as President of Dickinson College, his judge’s seat has yet to be filled.

Jones’ vacant seat is one of two in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

“It’s almost certain that both candidates will be Democrats,” Jones said.

Both empty seats will likely be from Scranton and will be seated in Scranton due to President Joe Biden and Bob Casey’s association with the Pennsylvania city.

“Elections matter and they do,” Jones added.

Democrat John Fetterman is now in the selection process; Republican Pat Toomey is out.

Fetterman, who is an outspoken supporter of criminal justice reform, may have his fingerprints on one of the selections.

Jones believes if the nominations come in early 2023, Casey will likely be in charge of the process, not Fetterman.

“If Senator Fetterman decides to flex his senatorial muscles, you’ll know that there could be some delay,” Jones said.

According to Jones, the list of candidates is short and they are all well qualified. However, the nominees will not look like Jones, a white male.

“Which is perfectly fine. So they’re going to be looking for people of color on the pitch and of course women too,” Jones added.

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According to Jones, if Oz had won, there would be a Republican and a Democrat. There will now be two Democrats, but county courts are primarily apolitical.

“I don’t think anyone should be concerned that the justice system is about to swing wildly left or right,” Jones said.

Jones was one of two Republicans nominated in 2001 by Republican President George W. Bush and Republican Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum. How will John Fetterman influence federal judge candidates?

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