Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Who Is David Porter?


David Porter is President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Age: 52 (approximate)

Current Position: Shareholder, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C. (Pittsburgh, Pa.)


  • B.A., Grove City College (1988), with honors
  • J.D., George Mason University School of Law (1992), Notes Editor, George Mason University Law Review

Judicial Clerkship: Judge D. Brooks Smith, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (1992-1993)


  • 1994-present: Shareholder, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C. (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Career Notes:

  • Over his legal career, Mr. Porter has handled hundreds of litigation matters, serving as lead counsel in jury trials, non-jury trials, and arbitration proceedings throughout the United States. He also litigates matters involving constitutional issues, election law, and labor and employment agreements.
  • Porter has represented an educational and charitable organization in litigation over a $500 million real-estate development project; represented a top-10 cable company in multimillion-dollar commercial disputes relating to its acquisition of several cable systems and products; defended a national book publisher and author in an action brought by celebrity death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who sought to enjoin publication of a book about his murder trial and appeals; and represented the New York Times in a defamation case brought by a businessman claiming $54 million in damages.
  • Porter has also been appointed a court-appointed master and mediator by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Professional Activities: Mr. Porter is President of the Pittsburgh Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. He is also a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Awards: Mr. Porter has been named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list and the The Best Lawyers in America list (Commercial Litigation category). Mr. Porter is also an elected member of the American Law Institute.


UPDATE:  Letters of Endorsement for David Porter

Ernest Withrow (President, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE):  “I have discussed NOBLE’s mission and priorities with Mr. Porter.  I am confident of his commitment to NOBLE’s ideals and to equity in the administration of justice.  I support without reservation his nomination to become a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.” (Letter to Senator Grassley;  Letter to Senator Feinstein)

Theodore Johnson (Past President, NOBLE): “I have known Mr. Porter, in a personal and professional capacity for approximately seven years.  Mr. Porter has a stellar reputation as a trial attorney and his ethics and dedication are admirable.”

Ralph Sicuro (President, Pittsburgh Fire Fighters IAFF Local No. 1): “As members of public safety we know how important it is to have a strong judicial system and Mr. Porter will be a great addition to that system.”

Robert Swartzwelder (Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, Fraternal Order of Police): “As law enforcement officers, we have a strong interest in the federal judiciary and applaud the appointment of judges who will uphold the rule of law within our constitutional system.  I am absolutely confident that Mr. Porter fits that description.”

International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 6: “Some of our members know Mr. Porter personally, and we are aware of his experience and reputation in the community.  We are confident that he will judge cases fairly and neutrally, according to the law.”

Arthur Rooney (President, Pittsburgh Steelers):  “David is highly respected and well-liked by the attorneys and non-professional employees of our Firm.  He is courteous to everyone, and a good mentor for younger lawyers.  He is a team player.”

Thomas VanKirk (Executive Vice-President and Chief Legal Officer), Highmark Health:  “In my experience, Mr. Porter is unfailingly fair, courteous, reasonable, and possessed of excellent judgement.  I am absolutely confident that, if confirmed, he will decide every case based upon the applicable law and not upon politics or ideology.”

Douglas Muetzel (CEO, Wesley Family Services): “. . . David appreciates that the law is purposeful and designed to help order people’s behavior; it has a human component.  In my experience with Mr. Porter, I believe that he understands that human component.”

Dr. William R. Glaze (President, Homewood-Brushton Community Ministries; Pastor, Bethany Baptist Church):  “I believe that Mr. Porter embraced the heart of the ministries mentioned above [striving to make our community a safe and desirable place for our residents to life, work, worship and play].  I give my hearty recommendation and support to his nomination as a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Arthur Stroyd (Attorney, Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd LLC):  “I have known Mr. Porter for more than fifteen years and am well-aware of his impeccable reputation with both the bench and the bar in Pittsburgh.  He is, and is universally regarded as being, consummately professional, temperate, respectful, fair, and good-natured.  He is an accomplished trial lawyer who understands and embraces the judicial duty of following the law wherever it leads.”

Thomas Thompson, (Former Law Partner, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, P.C.): “I am a staunch Democrat.  However, particularly at the Court of Appeals level, I believe it is more critical than ideology to have a solid thoughtful judicial temperament coupled with character, intelligence, and the ability to function in a judicial setting.  I strongly believe that David has all of these attributes expected of a judge on the Court of Appeals.  He has the type of legal judgement, respect for precedent, temperament, and calming influence that is much needed on the bench no matter which political leaning.”

Tina O. Miller (Partner, Farrell & Reisinger, LLC): “In my many dealings with Mr. Porter, he has always been scrupulously professional, fair, impartial, polite, respectful, and apolitical.  He is well respected for his intellect, as well as his judgement . . . . Mr. Porter is an excellent and worthy nominee to succeed Judge D. Michael Fisher on the Third Circuit.”


Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

Most Popular


In Appreciation, and against (Too Much) Nostalgia

To put it a little self-pityingly: It seems that my gurus are going, and the world’s. Richard Pipes, the great historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, died on Thursday; Bernard Lewis, the great historian of the Middle East, died yesterday. We had them both for a long time. Pipes was born in 1923, Lewis way ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Keeping Catholic Foster Care in Philly

Last week, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed a complaint in a Pennsylvania district court on behalf of foster parents working with Catholic Social Services at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Despite issuing a recent plea for more people to step up as candidates for foster parents, the city of ... Read More

Comedians Are Catching On

The comedians are beginning to catch on. Over the weekend -- just one week after featuring a bevy of top-line Hollywood stars impersonating members of the Trump administration, as well as a cameo by a vengeful Stormy Daniels asking for President Trump’s resignation -- Saturday Night Live finally acknowledged ... Read More
PC Culture

The Nature of Progressive Insensitivity

Former vice president Joe Biden is back in the news yet again. For a second time, he seems surprised that poor residents of the inner city are capable of doing sophisticated jobs: We don't think ordinary people can do things like program, code. It's not rocket science, guys. So, we went and we hired some folks ... Read More

The Feminization of Everything Fails Our Boys

Let me share with you two troubling — and, I believe, closely linked — news reports. The first, from this weekend, comes courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry. In one chart, he highlights the dramatic and growing gender gap in higher education. In short, women are dominating: ... Read More