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Senate Panel Backs Munley For Federal Judge Vacancy

Julia Munley

Lackawanna County Judge Julia K. Munley is one step closer to becoming a federal judge.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-9, largely along partisan lines, to send President Joe Biden’s nomination of Munley to the full Senate for a vote. The 58-year-old has served as a county judge since 2016.

The final vote must still be scheduled. Biden nominated her on May 4 to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the committee’s top-ranked Republican member, was the only Republican to vote for Munley. All 11 Democrats backed her.

The committee was scheduled to vote on Munley on July 13, but chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Republicans had unspecified questions they wanted answered before voting and agreed to postpone the vote a week. That day, the panel voted, also largely on partisan lines, on Biden nominees for district court judgeships in Michigan, Connecticut and the District of Columbia. Biden nominated each the same day as Munley.

Before the vote Thursday, Graham touched on the questions, but offered few details.

“We had some concerns about some political donations, but we’ve looked, and I’m satisfied everything is OK and I’m certainly ready to move forward on her,” Graham said in a hearing broadcast online.

Munley was born into a storied Pennsylvania family, with her great-grandfather, grandfather, and grandmother having served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly as Democrats. She attended Marywood University in Scranton, receiving a B.A. degree in 1987, and subsequently getting a law degree from Penn State Dickinson Law in 1992. Munley began her legal career as a clerk for Hon. Stephen J. McEwen, Jr., of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Afterward, She embarked on a career as a trial attorney, practicing at the state and federal level across areas including medical malpractice, civil rights, personal injury, and family law with an expertise in elder law.

Munley was appointed to the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2016 and elected to that court for a 10-year term in 2017.

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