TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Judge behind voter ID ruling hails from long line of lawyers prominent in region

About Debra Erdley
Bernard L. McGinley is a judge of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
Related Stories

By Debra Erdley

Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley, the appellate court jurist who struck down Pennsylvania's Voter ID law on Friday, knows the power of the ballot box.

The 68-year-old Point Breeze Democrat, first elected an Allegheny County judge in 1981, won election to the statewide Commonwealth Court in 1987 by 4,874 votes, considered a razor-thin margin in a race where McGinley got 1,185,963 votes to opponent Robert Byer, who received 1,181,089. It was days before McGinley was declared the winner in the final count. But he wasn't worried, his older brother said.

“Back in the day, Barney was the most relaxed of all of us,” said Jack McGinley, a partner at Eckert Seamans in Pittsburgh.

Both brothers have children who have gone into the law. Several of their cousins — members of the Pittsburgh Steelers owners' Rooney family — are lawyers.

“We've got an army of lawyers,” Jack McGinley said.

Like Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of Shaler, who is weighing an appeal of the voter ID case, the McGinleys are longtime fixtures in the Western Pennsylvania legal community.

“We've known the governor for forever and a day,” Jack McGinley said.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, McGinley is known to friends as “Barney.” He began his career as a law clerk in Pittsburgh before becoming an Allegheny County assistant district attorney. He was in private practice from 1975 until 1981.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Former U.S. Steel executive and wife make $500,000 donation
  2. Trial begins in Steelers stabbing
  3. Patients nationwide die waiting as 1 in 5 kidneys rejected by doctors
  4. Wuerl tells faithful all Catholics are responsible for schools
  5. Post 9/11 veterans lend skills to community leadership course
  6. 4-car crash near Fox Chapel snarls Route 28 traffic
  7. Wilkinsburg woman, 24, dies in crash
  8. Democrats consider Pittsburgh for 2016 national convention
  9. South Fayette mother wants case against bullied son to be dropped
  10. Bethel Park man to receive degree from Pitt he earned 64 years ago
  11. Bullied South Fayette student’s case prompts wiretap overhaul legislation
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.