Senior Judge Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr. of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania Dead at 89 After a Distinguished Career
Philadelphia, PA, January 17, 2108 ‐ Senior Judge Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr passed away yesterday, January 16, 2018. Judge O’Neill was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in June, 1983. He was confirmed by the United States Senate and received his commission in August, 1983. Judge O’Neill assumed senior status on July 6, 1996. He served on the Codes of Conduct Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 1995 to 2001.
Judge O’Neill received his A.B., magna cum laude, from the Catholic University of America in 1950 and his L.L.B., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1953 where he served as Articles Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. He served as a law clerk to Judge Herbert Funk Goodrich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1953 to 1954 and to Justice Harold Hitz Burton of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1954 to 1955. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics from 1955 to 1956, where he also had a desk in Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn. In 1956 he joined the Philadelphia law firm of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads where he served as Chairman of the Litigation Section and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He was counsel to the First and Second Pennsylvania State Legislative Reapportionment Commissions. He was Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1976 and a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates in the same year. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Life Member of the American Law Institute. He was a member of the Governor’s Trial Court Nominating Commission for Philadelphia County; President of the Pennsylvania Conference of County Bar Officers; President of the University of Pennsylvania Law Alumni Society and President of the University of Pennsylvania Chapter of the Order of the Coif. He served as a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and a Board member of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law. He was an Incorporator and Board member of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. Judge O’Neill was the founding Chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Law School American Inn of Court.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is one of the original 13 federal judiciary districts created by the Judiciary Act of 1789. It originally sat in Independence Hall in Philadelphia as the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania and is now located at the James Byrne Courthouse at 601 Market Street in Philadelphia with additional locations in Allentown, Reading and Easton. The Court’s jurisdiction includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton counties as well as Philadelphia. The district is part of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.