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Five Things to Know About Third Circuit Nominee Patty Shwartz

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today’s offering: Third Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Patty Shwartz.

President Obama nominated Patty Shwartz to fill Senior Judge Maryanne Trump Barry's seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals last October, but the nomination hasn't been without controversy. Senator Robert Menendez, New Jersey's junior senator, famously blocked Judge Shwartz's nomination earlier this year, even though he is a fellow Democrat from Shwartz's home state.

Now that Sen. Menendez has hopped on board the pro-Shwartz bandwagon, here are the top five things you should know about the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' latest nominee:

  1. Honorable Mention. Patty Shwartz graduated Rutgers University (BA, '83) with highest honors and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD, '86), where she was named the Outstanding Woman Law Graduate of her class.
  2. Formula Won. Judge Shwartz satisfies Obama's clerkship + private practice + public sector + academia = nomination formula. Shwartz boasts a federal clerkship with Judge Harold Ackerman of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, private practice experience as an associate at Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz (now Pepper Hamilton LLP), public sector experience at the U.S. Attorney's office and as a magistrate judge, and academic experience as an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School.
  3. Jersey Girl. Judge Shwartz was born in New Jersey, attended college in New Jersey, and has served as a Magistrate Judge in New Jersey since 2003.
  4. Well Qualified. The American Bar Association (ABA) rated Judge Shwartz "unanimously well qualified" for the appellate bench
  5. The Tiff. Despite the ABA's vote of confidence, Sen. Menendez initially expressed "substantive" concerns about Shwartz's knowledge of constitutional issues. The media speculated that Menendez was really blocking the nomination because Shwartz's long-time partner, James Nobile, was in charge of the public corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey when Menendez was subpoenaed in a 2006 corruption investigation, reports The New Jersey Star-Ledger. Whatever the reason was, Sen. Menendez has now thrown his support behind Shwartz's nomination.

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