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U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Three Judges For Western Pa. District

By: Judith Ayers, Contributing Writer 

The Senate Judiciary Committee has unanimously approved three U.S. district judge nominees from western Pa. These nominees were first nominated last year by the president and were then re-nominated in January. The names are: Robert D. Mariani, nominee for U.S. district judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Cathy Bissoon and Mark R. Hornack.

Cathy Bissoon, nominee for the Western District of Pennsylvania has served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Between 2007 and 2008, she served as the department head of the labor group at Cohen & Grigsby, P.C. in Pittsburgh. Prior to her arrival at Cohen & Grigsby, she served as a partner at Reed Smith LLP from 2001 and 2007. She received her Bachelors of Arts summa cum laude from Alfred University in 1990 and her Juris doctor from Harvard Law School in 1993.

Mark R. Hornak, is also a nominee for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Mark Hornak is presently a shareholder, partner and member of the executive committee at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney where he has engaged in civil litigation labor and employment law since 1982. Prior to joining Buchanan Ingersoll, he served as a law clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge James M. Sprouse of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (July 1981-June 1982). He graduated summa cum laude from University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law in 1981 and was ranked second in his class. He received his Bachelor of Arts cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education in 1978. He has served on the board of a number of non-profit organizations.

Robert D. Mariani, is a nominee for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Established in 1983, Robert Mariani has run his own law practice, Robert D. Mariani, P.C. in Scranton, where he focuses on labor and employment law. He served as a partner at Mariani & Greco from 1979 to 1993. Additionally, his experience includes serving as solicitor to the Scranton/Dunmore Sewer Authority. Robert Mariani received his Bachelors of Arts cum laude from Villanova University in 1972 and his Juris doctor cum laude from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1976.
He was a member of a number of bar associations, including the advisory committee of the National Academy of Arbitrators and the course planning team for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Labor Law Symposium. He has taught labor law at the Scranton campus of Penn State University and has been an instructor in Penn State’s Union Leadership Academy Program, where he has taught labor law and collective bargaining.

Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) spoke at the June confirmation hearing and congratulated the nominees after the Thursday vote.

“I am very pleased that these well-qualified candidates can now come before the Senate for a confirmation vote,” said Senator Casey.

“Today, Pennsylvania faces a shortage of U.S. district court judges, and it is essential to work in a bipartisan manner to address this concern,” Sen. Toomey said. Sen. Toomey stated his support of the three nominees, “…because I am confident that they will live up to these standards, and I urge the Senate to confirm them quickly.”

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