Judge D. Brooks Smith, "An Independent Judiciary: If You Can Keep It"

Judge D. Brooks Smith sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to which he was nominated in September of 2001. He previously served on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1988 until his confirmation in 2002, serving as the Chief Judge from 2001 until his elevation to the Third Circuit. As a judge now serving on the Third Circuit, he hears appeals from federal cases arising in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Judge Smith received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin and Marshall College in 1973, and his Juris Doctor degree from The Dickinson School of Law in 1976. He began his legal career in Altoona, Pennsylvania, becoming the managing partner of the firm of Jubelirer, Carothers, Krier, Halpern & Smith in 1981. From 1983 to 1984, he served as Blair County District Attorney. In December 1984, Governor Dick Thornburgh appointed Judge Smith to the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County. The following year, Judge Smith was elected to a full ten-year term as judge. In1987, he became the Administrative Judge of the Blair County Court. Judge Smith is a member of the American Law Institute, the Federal Judges Association, and the American Judicature Society. He served on the Criminal Rules Advisory Committee of the United States Judicial Conference from 1993 to 1999. In 2006, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Smith to another Judicial Conference Committee, the Committee on Space and Facilities.

Judge Smith also has assisted in efforts to enhance the rule of law in the judicial systems of Central and Eastern Europe. He has taught in judicial training sessions in Russia for the Department of State and with the American Bar Association’s Central and Eastern European Legal Initiative; in Bulgaria, Latvia and Albania with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); in Kosovo with the International Development Law Organization; and in Bosnia and Macedonia with the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training. In 2007, he assisted USAID with an assessment of the legal system in the Republic of the Philippines as part of that Agency’s Commercial Law and Institutional Reform initiative; participated in a Judicial Ethics Training for the USAID Judicial Development Project in Chisinau, Moldova; and addressed an International Conference “On the Impact of the European Convention on Human Rights to the Development of the Azerbaijani Legal System,” in Baku, Azerbaijan. Most recently, in October 2008, Judge Smith returned to Moldova to speak on “The New Judicial Ethics Code: Interpretation and Application.”

Judge Smith has authored numerous academic articles. Most recently, he authored “Because Men Are Not Angels: Separation of Powers in the United States,” Duquesne Law Review (2009), “Promoting the Rule of Law and Respecting the Separation of Powers: The Legitimate Role of the American Judiciary Abroad,” 7 Ave Maria Law Review 1 (2008),and “Judicial Review in the United States,” 45 Duquesne Law Review 379 (2007). He teaches Class Actions and Complex Litigation at Penn State Law School.

This talk was recorded on March 29, 2013, and sponsored by the Federalist Society.