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The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Jones’ judicial successor confirmed by Senate

Karoline+Mehalchick%2C+seen+during+her+Jul.+2023+nomination+hearing%2C+has+been+confirmed+by+the+U.S.+Senate+to+the+U.S.+District+Court+for+the+Middle+District+of+Pennsylvania.+The+seat+she+was+confirmed+to+was+previously+held+by+current+Dickinson+College+President+John+E.+Jones+III.+%28Photo+Courtesy+of+U.S.+Senate+Committee+on+the+Judiciary.%29%0A
Karoline Mehalchick, seen during her Jul. 2023 nomination hearing, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The seat she was confirmed to was previously held by current Dickinson College President John E. Jones III. (Photo Courtesy of U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary.)

Karoline Mehalchick, a current magistrate judge from Clarks Summit, has been confirmed by the United States Senate to fill the seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. This position was previously held by Dickinson President John E. Jones III ’77.

 

Mehalchick has served as a Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania since 2013 and as chief judge since 2021. Magistrate judges are appointed to assist the district court judges.

 

President Joe Biden nominated Mehalchick for the court in June 2023 after Jones retired from the court in 2021 to accept the interim presidency at Dickinson. The vote to confirm Mehalchick, held on Jan. 31, was 50-49 and mostly along party lines. All Democrats except for Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted to confirm her, while all present Republicans voted against her.

 

After Mehalchick begins her term, the court will be represented by three judges appointed by Democrats and two appointed by Republicans, along with one current vacancy. The court had an even split of Republican and Democratic appointees before Jones’ retirement.

 

Both of Pennsylvania’s Democratic senators—Bob Casey and John Fetterman—supported Mehalchick’s nomination. In a joint statement, Casey said her “deep sense of community, vast courtroom experience, and commitment to the rule of law make her well-qualified for this critical role and I look forward to voting to swiftly confirm her,” while Fetterman said she “has proven in her 10 years as Chief United States Magistrate Judge to be fair, wise, and just and I will be voting in support of her confirmation.”

 

During her nomination hearing, Mehalchick faced criticism from Republican senators due to a 2019 ruling she made that threw out a misdemeanor child-endangerment conviction against former Pennsylvania State University President Graham Spanier, which resulted from Spanier not properly handling sexual assault reports against football coach Jerry Sandusky. Mehalchick’s decision was overturned in 2020, and Spanier served a two-month prison sentence.

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About the Contributor
Walker is a junior political science major from Shavertown, Pa. and is one of the 2023-24 Co-Editors-in-Chief. They previously served as Life & Style Editor in 2022-23, and have been writing with The Dickinsonian since freshman year. Some of their favorite stories they've written include a profile on John E. Jones when he became Dickinson's president, attempts to bring back a special interest house for the African diaspora, and when John Fetterman spoke in Carlisle. Outside of The Dickinsonian, they are also involved with WDCV, Random Acts of Kindness and Dickinson Votes. In their free time, they love reading, finding new music, photography, and playing video games.

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