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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Congrats to Judge Smith

Northampton County Judge Edward G. Smith, confirmed yesterday as a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, will be sorely missed. He was described yesterday in a Morning Call account as a gentleman, and that's certainly true. But don't get the idea that he's sitting in some country club, sipping on a martini. He's a gentleman who eats his lunch in the cafeteria, mixing it up with the clerks of various departments. He's a gentleman who will stop in the hall, to give some lost soul directions. In other words, a real gentleman.

Northampton County has always been lucky that way. The first judge I appeared in front of was Clinton "Budd" Palmer. His face was a thermometer. If it got too red in the courtroom, you'd know that you've gone too far. But Palmer, like Smith, was a judge who made sure he knew the county workforce. He'd be in the cafeteria every morning at 7:50 am, drinking coffee with custodians, clerks, probation officers, and from time to time, young lawyers.

Though Judge Smith is known for his military service and scholarship, I'll never forget one discussion I had with him several years ago. What he is most concerned about is his children. To him, being a good father trumps being a good judge.

When my daughter was in Iraq (Yes, my daughter was in the military), he often asked about her. He may be ascending to the judicial heavens, but his feet remain planted firmly in the ground.

Who will succeed Judge Smith? Some of you may want to discuss that, but for now, I just want to wish him the best.


Anonymous said...

As a frequent visitor to the courthouse, my observations confirm your description of Judge Smith .. I've seen him wishing county employees happy birthdays ... he always says hello to me and I'm sure he doesn't even know my name.

Anonymous said...

Having recently served on a jury in Judge Smith's courtroom, I can attest to all that you have said. He is fair, impartial, smart and polite. Following our case, which was complicated and marked by numerous inexplicable (to the jurors) delays, Judge Smith took time to stop by to see us following the verdict. He thanked us profusely for serving, then apologized for the delays. When he was finished, I remember thinking that our system works because of jurists like him.

I am happy to see the promotion, but can't help to think that the federal bench's gain is Northampton's loss.

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree with you more Bernie ...they really don't any better than Judge Smith !

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Judge Smith.Contrary to all the negative people in our Government. Judge Smith stands above the rest

Anonymous said...

Who will succeed . . .?

I don't know specifically, but here is a guess to the number of candidates. .

How many lawyers are there in Northampton County?

Better yet, How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

(Hint, the answer to the second question far exceeds the answer to the first)

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:37, I am sure that Judge Smith, who is known to peek at this blog from time to time, will be very gratified by your comment