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Bernard McGinley

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Bernard McGinley
Current Court Information:
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
Title:   Judge
Salary:  $
Active:   1988-2017
Past position:   Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge
Past term:   1982-1988
Personal History
Born:   January 7, 1946
Undergraduate:   John Carroll University, 1967
Law School:   University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1970
Military service:   U.S. Army Reserve

Bernard L. McGinley is a judge on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. He was elected to a ten-year term on the court in November 1987 (effective January 4, 1988) and was then retained to a second ten-year term in 1997 and a third such term in 2007. His current term expires in December of 2017.[1] He is also a judge on the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. He was appointed to this position on September 22, 2009.


  • B.S. from John Carroll University in Ohio, 1967
  • Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1970
  • Basic Officer Training at Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas, in 1971, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain from the U.S. Army Reserve, Medical Service Corps in 1976.[1]


He was commissioned as a Judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in January 1982, and served in the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the trial court until commissioned as a Judge of the Commonwealth Court on January 4, 1988.

  • Law clerk for Robert A. Doyle of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
  • Assistant District Attorney for Allegheny County.
  • Instructor of Criminal Law at Allegheny County Community College in 1974 and 1975.
  • Chairman of the Allegheny County Board of Viewers from 1975 until 1980.
  • Commissioned as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in January 1982
  • Served as a member of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges.[1]

Retention elections

McGinley's was retained in 2007.

  • Vote to retain: 1,039,215 (62.8%)
  • Vote not to retain: 616,828 (37.2%)[2]

Notable cases

Voter ID law

Judge McGinley presided in a case striking down Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law, passed in March 2012 by a Republican-led legislature. He determined that the law requiring voters to show ID at the polls "unreasonably burdens the right to vote" in the state, violating its constitution.[3] McGinley wrote 50 pages with 50 appendices for the decision, in which he pointed out the state's lack of evidence of voter fraud, contrasted with "overwhelming evidence" that hundreds of thousands of voters lack the required identification.[3] The decision found that a "vague concern about voter fraud" does not justify the burden of the law in question.[3]

The decision reads, "Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal."[3]

One burden cited is that the law unreasonably excludes certain types of voter ID, such as welfare cards, school district employee cards, gun permits and Pennsylvania college IDs lacking expiration dates. McGinley wrote, "The voter ID law as written suggests a legislative disconnect from reality."[3] He compared Pennsylvania's law to other more protective laws in other states. While the law calls for a new Department of State ID to be issued without charge or supporting documents, McGinley concluded there is a significant barrier to getting the IDs; one problem he cited was that they were available at only 71 Department of Transportation licensing centers.[3]

Previously, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court briefly addressed the law during the 2012 election season, leaving its status ambiguous. The Commonwealth Court also addressed it, allowing the law to stand for the election, after which the high court asked the Commonwealth Court to reconsider. The law's full requirements have yet to go into effect for an election.[3]

The attorney for Governor Tom Corbett, who supports the law, said they will soon decide whether to file post-trial motions with the Commonwealth Court. He said they would potentially take the matter to the Supreme Court after that.[3]

See also

External links


PennsylvaniaSupreme Court of PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Superior CourtPennsylvania Commonwealth CourtPennsylvania Court of Common PleasPennsylvania Magisterial DistrictsPhiladelphia Municipal CourtPhiladelphia Traffic CourtPittsburgh Municipal CourtUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Western District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Middle District of PennsylvaniaUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of PennsylvaniaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitPennsylvania countiesPennsylvania judicial newsPennsylvania judicial electionsJudicial selection in PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaTemplate.jpg