Plenary Speaker
Judge John E. Jones III

Plenary Address Sunday, July 8, 7:30 pm
Title & Location to be Announced

In 2005 Judge Jones presided over the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, after which he held that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum.

Judge John E. Jones III began his service as a United States District Judge on August 2, 2002. He is the 21st judge to sit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Judge Jones was appointed to his current position by President George W. Bush in February, 2002, and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 2002.

Judge Jones was born and raised in Schuylkill County, which is part of the anthracite coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the Mercersburg Academy, Dickinson College, and the Dickinson School of Law of The Pennsylvania State University.

In 1980 Judge Jones began his legal career as a law clerk to the President Judge of Schuylkill County, the Honorable Guy A. Bowe. Subsequently, Judge Jones joined the firm of Dolbin & Cori, and upon his achieving the status of partner, the name of the firm was changed to Dolbin, Cori & Jones. In 1986, Judge Jones formed his own law firm, John Jones & Associates, where he continued to practice until the time of his elevation to the federal bench. During a career as a trial lawyer which spanned nearly twenty-two years, Judge Jones represented thousands of clients from all walks of life. He was an experienced litigator, practicing in state and federal tribunals across Pennsylvania. He served as solicitor for several municipalities, including the city of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Judge Jones also served as a part-time assistant public defender for Schuylkill County. For the last ten years of his practice, Judge Jones served as counsel to the Reading, Pennsylvania based law firm of Roland & Schlegel.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Jones had numerous public and private affiliations. These included service as a member of the Board of Directors of the Union Bank and Trust Company of Pottsville, state attorney for the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and chairman of a local foundation which awarded scholarships to high school students based upon vocal music ability. He has served as an Assistant Scoutmaster, and has been extensively involved with both the local and national Boy Scouts of America.

In November, 1994, Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Ridge named Judge Jones as a co-chair of his transition team. Subsequently, in May 1995, Governor Ridge nominated Judge Jones to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which is the largest state liquor monopoly in the United States. After his unanimous confirmation by the Pennsylvania State Senate, Governor Ridge appointed Judge Jones Chairman of the Board. Judge Jones served as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for a total of seven years and two months, until he assumed his current duties. During his tenure on the Liquor Control Board, Judge Jones implemented substantial changes in liquor licensing procedures which were designed to both streamline and shorten the process. These included use of the internet to apply for and renew liquor licenses. He managed a workforce of over four thousand people, and administered a budget in excess of one billion dollars. Judge Jones also gained national attention in the area of alcohol education, with particular emphasis on underage drinking at college campuses, as well as drunk driving. In November 2000, Judge Jones’ contributions were recognized when he received the Government Leadership Award from the National Commission Against Drunk Driving in Washington, D.C. At the time of his appointment to the bench, Judge Jones was a board member, and president elect, of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA).

Judge Jones has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Dickinson School of Law, as well as an honorary doctorate in law and public policy from Dickinson College. In May, 2006 Judge Jones was named by Time Magazine as one of its Time 100, the one hundred most influential people in the world. Judge Jones has also received a Rave Award for Policy from Wired Magazine. In 2006 Judge Jones was the recipient of the first John Marshall Judicial Independence Award, which will be presented annually by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. Judge Jones has presided over several noteworthy and high profile cases. In 2003 Judge Jones struck down portions of Shippensburg University’s speech code on the basis that they violated the First Amendment’s free speech guarantee. In that same year Judge Jones ruled, in a decision later affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statute assessing milk producers in order to fund advertising, including the Milk Mustache/got milk® campaign did not infringe the free speech rights of the producers.

In 2005 Judge Jones presided over the landmark case of Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, after which he held that it was unconstitutional to teach intelligent design within a public school science curriculum.

Judge Jones resides in his native Pottsville, and has been married to his wife Beth Ann since 1982. They are the parents of daughter Meghan, and son John.

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