As of October 1, Judge Smith has succeeded Judge McKee as Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge McKee has been Chief Judge since 2010, succeeding Judge Scirica in that role. Judge McKee is thus, to date, the only Third Circuit Chief Judge that this blog has ever known.
The new Chief Judge, Judge Smith, is very familiar to readers of this blog as a prolific author of opinions, especially in the area of class actions. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and Dickinson School of Law, the predecessor to Penn State Law, Judge Smith began his legal career in private practice in Altoona, PA. He thereafter served as Blair County District Attorney before being appointed to the Blair County Court of Common Pleas, where he sat from 1984-88.
In 1988, President Reagan appointed Judge Smith to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Judge Smith served as Chief Judge of that court from 2001-02. In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Smith for a seat on the Third Circuit. He was confirmed and took his seat in 2002.
More detail is contained in the Third Circuit’s press release, available here.