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Western Pa. judges one step from filling vacancies on federal court

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Judge Marilyn Jean Horan, Butler County Court of Common Pleas.
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U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter

Two Western Pennsylvania jurists, including one from Butler County, are a step away from filling vacancies on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nominations of Marilyn Jean Horan, a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge since 1996, and Susan Paradise Baxter, a Latrobe native and U.S. magistrate judge in the Western District in Erie since 1995.

President Obama nominated both judges in July, and Pennsylvania’s U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey endorsed them during judiciary committee hearings in December.

The full Senate still must approve them.

Obama also nominated Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert John Colville to a seat in the Western District. The committee has yet to act on his nomination.

Horan serves in the civil division of the Butler County court, but also has presided over criminal and family law cases.

Before becoming a judge, she was with the Murrin Taylor Flach & Horan law firm, where she was named partner in 1982.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1976 and a juris doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979.

Baxter served as chief magistrate judge in the Western District from 2005 to 2009. She has been solicitor for Erie County Common Pleas Court and was a partner in the Cole Raywid & Braverman law firm in Washington, D.C.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in 1978, Baxter earned a master’s degree in education in 1980 and a juris doctor in 1983, both from Temple University.

Vince Townley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at724-772-6364 or [email protected].

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