Paula Reed Ward and Tracie Mauriello | January 26, 2017
Fox Chapel resident and 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas M. Hardiman is among three finalists for the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Hardiman, 51, joins 10th U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch and 11th U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor on President Donald Trump’s short list to fill the position left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February.
The president has said he will announce his nominee next week. Judge Hardiman has already had a sit-down meeting with him.
Those who have followed Judge Hardiman’s career are not surprised by the president’s interest in him, describing him as principled, well-prepared and with a demeanor and temperament that are excellent.
“He has been regarded as an up-and-coming judge,” said Rob Byer, who has argued before Judge Hardiman on the 3rd Circuit three times.
In 2003, at age 37, Judge Hardiman was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Just four years later, he was elevated to the Circuit Court, which handles cases from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the Virgin Islands.
Former U.S. District Judge Robert Cindrich hired Judge Hardiman to join his law firm as a young lawyer new to Pittsburgh and witnessed his ascension to the federal bench.
“He was a superb District Court judge. He has people skills,” Mr. Cindrich said. “Everybody was treated fairly, with respect.”
A Notre Dame graduate who attended Georgetown University for law school, Judge Hardiman’s confirmation would diversify the academic makeup of the court, which has been criticized as being a cloistered group of out-of-touch Ivy Leaguers.