UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Smith Lobby in Joseph F. Weis, Jr. Courthouse in Pittsburgh honors Third Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith, Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Penn State Law in University Park. The courthouse lobby dedication recognizes Smith’s esteemed career that spans over three decades.
Reflecting on what the dedication means to him, Smith said, “Judge Joe Weis was a mentor to me, as well as a colleague and friend. I simply cannot put into words the emotions I feel at being remembered with the naming of the lobby in the federal courthouse that so fittingly bears Joe’s name.”
A graduate from Penn State Dickinson Law, Smith began his career working in his native county. He was an assistant district attorney for Blair County, special assistant attorney general for Pennsylvania, and then district attorney for Blair County. He then served as a judge of the Blair County Court of Common Pleas. After years of work in Blair County, Smith was appointed to the federal bench. He served the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania for 14 years before he was appointed to the Third Circuit.
Smith’s legacy includes serving for 20 years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court system for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He recently attained senior judge status in December 2021, after five years as a chief judge. Smith also served as a member of the Judicial Conference and the Executive Committee of the conference. The Judicial Conference makes federal court policy.
All who enter the courthouse will see “Judge D. Brooks Smith Lobby” displayed in black letters, with an illuminated painting of Smith underneath his name. Next to Smith’s painting hangs a plaque with his following quote inscribed from the Naturalization Ceremony held on Nov. 3, 2021:
“This is where law is enshrined. America’s foundation is the rule of law. We are a citizenry that trusts that the rule of law will guide us and that judges will administer it fairly—judges who are not politicians. Judges who are not beholden to rulers. Judges who are independent and bound by the rule of law.”
The dedication ceremony to commemorate the new lobby name was held on April 21, 2022.