Judge David Cercone approved for U.S. District Court vacancy
Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge David S. Cercone was confirmed Thursday by the U.S. Senate to fill an opening on the bench of the U.S. District Court in Western Pennsylvania, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said.
The confirmation of Cercone, 49, a Democrat from Stowe, comes three days after the Senate approved a similar nomination of Joy Flowers Conti, 54, a Republican from Pine Township. Both were nominated by President Bush in March.
The Senate has yet to act on several other nominations to fill three other vacancies on the federal bench. Congress has authorized 10 judges for the district that extends north to Erie, south to the West Virginia border and east to Johnstown, Cambria County.
Cercone, who could not be reached for comment, originally was nominated in July 2000 by former President Clinton, but the nomination was held up by a long-running feud between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic president. The nomination languished in committee without ever coming up for a vote.
Two other Republicans who were nominated by Bush, Arthur Schwab, 55, of Butler County, and Allegheny County Solicitor Terrence F. McVerry, have not come up for a vote.
Cercone, a classic pianist, is a graduate of Westminster College in Lawrence County and received his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. His current term on Common Pleas Court runs through January 2006.
"I want to congratulate David and his family on the Senate's vote," said Santorum, a Penn Hills Republican who often was criticized as an obstacle to Clinton's nominations.
"I am extremely proud that Judge Cercone will be joining Joy Conti as judge," Santorum said in a prepared statement. "David's record … has been exemplary and I know that he will continue to serve the public well in his new role."
Cercone, who has taught at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law since 1984, sits on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania.