Matthew W. Brann
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Assumed office
August 1, 2021
Preceded byJohn E. Jones III
Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
Assumed office
December 27, 2012
Appointed byBarack Obama
Preceded byThomas I. Vanaskie
Personal details
Born (1965-07-25) July 25, 1965 (age 56)
Elmira, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican[1]
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BA)
Pennsylvania State University (JD)

Matthew William Brann (born July 25, 1965) is the Chief United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Early life and education

Brann was born in Elmira, New York, on July 25, 1965.[2] He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987 from the University of Notre Dame. He received his Juris Doctor in 1990 from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University.

Career

From 1990 to 1991, he served as a law clerk with the Court of Common Pleas in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. He became an associate at Brann, Williams, Caldwell & Sheetz in 1991, becoming a partner at that firm in 1995. He also spent years as a Republican Party official in Pennsylvania and was active in the Federalist Society and National Rifle Association.[3] In private practice, he focused on tort, contract, commercial, and real estate litigation.[4][5]

Federal judicial service

On May 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Brann to be a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, to the seat vacated by Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie, who was elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 2010. Brann was recommended by Republican Senator Pat Toomey as part of a paired nomination with a recommendation by Democratic Senator Bob Casey Jr.[6][7] The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his nomination on June 27, 2012, and reported it to the floor on July 19, 2012.[4] The Senate confirmed his nomination by unanimous consent on December 21, 2012. He received his commission on December 27, 2012. Brann entered on duty as a United States District Judge on January 17, 2013. He sits at the United States Courthouse and Federal Building in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.[5]

In September 2019, Brann was admonished by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals for making conclusions a jury should address and for glossing over serious disputes regarding the facts of a case. [8]

Notable rulings

See also: Post-election lawsuits related to the 2020 United States presidential election § Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar

Brann presided over the case Donald J. Trump for President v. Boockvar in which the Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign sought to block the certification of the nearly seven million presidential election votes cast in Pennsylvania.[9] This case is one of the lawsuits challenging results from states won by president-elect Joe Biden. During an appearance before the court, Trump's lead attorney Rudy Giuliani asserted there was “widespread, nationwide voter fraud,” but under questioning by Brann, Giuliani stated, "This is not a fraud case."[10]

Brann dismissed the case with prejudice on November 21, 2020, citing "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations" which were "unsupported by evidence". Judge Brann also ruled an evidentiary hearing was not needed.[11] He stated that the Trump team's argument "like Frankenstein's Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together from two distinct theories in an attempt to avoid controlling precedent" and characterized the requested remedy to disqualify the votes as "unhinged from the underlying right being asserted."[12][13][14]

The Trump campaign appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where a three-judge panel ruled on November 27 that the District Court under Brann had been correct in preventing the Trump campaign from amending its complaint a second time.[15][16] The panel also praised the District Court under Brann, stating that it had demonstrated "fast, fair, patient handling of this demanding litigation".[16]

References

  1. ^ Brann, Matthew. "Matthew Brann Public Questionnaire" (PDF). United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. p. 6. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020. Bradford County Republican Committee (1994–present), Chair (1996–2005)... Republican National Convention (2008)... Republican Party of Pennsylvania (formerly Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania) (1996–present)
  2. ^ "Biography from Brann, Williams, Caldwell & Sheetz". Archived from the original on December 22, 2011.
  3. ^ Legere, Laura (June 27, 2012). "Judiciary committee hears from two Pennsylvania nominees for federal bench". Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice. Archived from the original on November 17, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US District Court". whitehouse.gov (Press release). May 17, 2012. Archived from the original on February 16, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2012 – via National Archives.
  5. ^ a b "Brann, Matthew William". Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  6. ^ "Senate Confirms PA Middle District Judicial Nominees". Sen. Bob Casey. Archived from the original on November 11, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  7. ^ "Tweet by Max Kennerly". Twitter. Archived from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  8. ^ PennLive, John Beauge | Special to (September 14, 2019). "Appeals court admonishes judge for ruling on suit filed by two fired Pa. prison guards". pennlive. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "Pennsylvania 2020 live election results". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ "In Court, Trump's Lawyers Aren't Claiming 'Massive' Fraud". Time.
  11. ^ Judge Brann (November 21, 2020). "DONALD J. TRUMP v KATHY BOOCKVAR" (PDF). pp. 10, 11. Retrieved November 22, 2020. At the conclusion of the argument, I determined that an evidentiary hearing (previously scheduled to take place on November 19, 2020) was no longer needed and cancelled that proceeding. Instead, I imposed a new briefing schedule in light of the FAC's filing, which arguably mooted the initial motions to dismiss.
  12. ^ Swaine, Jon. "In scathing opinion, federal judge dismisses Trump campaign lawsuit in Pennsylvania". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (November 21, 2020). "'Not how the Constitution works': Federal judge tosses Trump suit seeking to disrupt Pa. election results". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar, No. 4:20-CV-02078 (M.D. Pa. 2020)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 22, 2020.
  15. ^ Watson, Kathryn (November 28, 2020). "Trump loses appeal in Pennsylvania: "Calling an election unfair does not make it so"". CBS News. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Federal appeals court slams Trump campaign efforts to turn tide in Pennsylvania ruling, saying 'claims have no merit'". CNN. November 27, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
Legal offices Preceded byThomas I. Vanaskie Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania2012–present Incumbent Preceded byJohn E. Jones III Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania2021–present