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Hon. Theodore A. McKee

U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Judge Theodore A. McKee was sworn in as a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on June 20, 1994; in 2010 he became Chief Judge. He is only the fourth African-American to serve on the Third Circuit bench. Judge McKee graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law in 1975. A native of Rochester, New York, Judge McKee graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland.

Upon graduation from law school, Judge McKee began his legal career in Philadelphia at Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen. He left there in 1977 to become an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. His position as an Assistant U.S. Attorney was the beginning of a career in public service. He left the United States Attorney's Office in 1980 to become a Deputy City Solicitor in the administration of then mayor, William Green. There, he headed the enforcement division of the city's law department. In 1983 he accepted a position as General Counsel to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and then ran successfully for the Court of Common Pleas, where he served for over 11 years. Toward the end of his first term on the Court of Common Pleas he was granted an assignment to the Orphans' Court, thus becoming the first African American to be assigned to that court.

Judge McKee is quite active in the community, and serves on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations and institutions including the Vera Institute of Justice,  and the Advisory Committee of City Year Philadelphia. He was a member of the Third Circuit Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Courts, and co-chaired the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Bias of the Task Force. Judge McKee has also served on the Pennsylvan ia Sentencing Commission, and was the chair of the Commission for nearly four years during which time he chaired a subcommittee charged with reexamining Pennsylvania's sentencing guidelines. He has also served on the Council of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and the Criminal Law Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.

Judge McKee is a Trustee of Temple University and Syracuse University and recently became an Advisor to the American Law Institute's Committee on Revising the Model Penal Code, and is a member of the ABA Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions. Rutgers University College of Law has recognized his commitment to public interest law and community involvement by awarding him its annual Mary Philbrook Public Interest Award, and he has  Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees from  the Trustees of the State University of New York, and Widener University College of Law.

Judge McKee has traveled to Moscow to address the Council of Russian Judges on the "Importance of an independent Judiciary,")," and Ghana to work with the Ghanian judiciary. Although he is not a historian, in 2001, the United States House of Representatives appointed him to serve as a Member of the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Commission to Commemorate the 250'" Anniversary of the Birth of James Madison. 

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