Bush picks Hardiman for appeals post

Has been a federal judge since 2003

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President Bush has nominated federal court Judge Thomas M. Hardiman to be a judge on the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Mr. Hardiman, who became a judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania in October 2003, was submitted for Senate confirmation to fill the vacancy created on the appeals court after Richard L. Nygaard, of Erie, became a senior judge last summer.

The Third Circuit handles appeals from Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Hardiman, 41, a Massachusetts native, earned an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame University in 1987 and his law degree from Georgetown University in 1990.

He is the youngest judge on the Western District bench.

His elevation to the circuit court is in keeping with the Bush administration preference for filling the appellate ranks with younger judges likely to have a long tenure on the bench.

After graduation from Georgetown, Mr. Hardiman worked in the Washington, D.C., office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager & Flom.

He later moved to Pittsburgh and joined the firm of Cindrich & Titus and, in 1999, became a partner at Reed Smith LLP until his confirmation for the district court.

Before his elevation to the bench, Mr. Hardiman was active in local Republican politics.

He served as treasurer of the Allegheny County Republican Committee, and was a member of Jim Roddey's county executive transition team in 2000.

He is married to the former Lori Zappala, a member of a prominent Democratic family.

Mr. Haridman's nomination is subject to confirmation by the Senate Judiciary, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. Mr. Specter and his colleague, Sen. Rick Santorum, praised the nomination in statements issued after the White House announcement.

Politics Editor James O'Toole may be reached at jotoole@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1562.


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