I am copying and pasting the article here because it will eventually go to archive, but you should click the link to see his picture anyway. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10298/1097305-499.stm
Judge Strassburger to be senior judge on the Superior Court he once ran for
Monday, October 25, 2010 By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Common Pleas Judge Gene Strassburger will begin serving as a senior Pennsylvania Superior Court judge on Jan. 3.
Gene Strassburger has long wanted to serve on Pennsylvania's Superior Court.
Now, 13 years after running unsuccessfully for a seat on the appellate bench, he will get his chance.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed Judge Strassburger, who has served on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court since 1978, to serve as a senior Superior Court judge. He will take office on Jan. 3.
In that capacity, he will take on the same caseload as the other 15 elected jurists.
"It's the busiest appellate court in the country," Judge Strassburger said. "They really can't function the way they need to without senior judges."
In 2009, the Superior Court concluded 8,321 appeals, and of those, 5,384 opinions were filed.
The year-to-year appointment can last up to 10 years. "I've enjoyed everything I've done, but I like new challenges," he said.
Judge Strassburger, 66, was first appointed to the bench in Allegheny County by Gov. Milton Shapp. He won his first elected term in 1979, and has been retained for three additional 10-year terms.
He served in the family division of the court for 15 years before moving to the civil division, where he has served for 17.
Judge Strassburger currently acts as the administrative judge and calendar control judge for the Civil Division.
He expects that he'll miss the daily interaction with the lawyers who come before him. "I'll not only miss seeing them, but they were compelled to laugh at my jokes," he said.
He comes from a long line of lawyers -- both of his grandfathers were attorneys, as were his mother and father. His great-aunt was the first woman to graduate from law school at Ohio State University in 1907, and one of his grandfathers continued practice into his 90s.
While Judge Strassburger did spend some time at the family firm -- Strassburger Mc Kenna Gutnik & Gefsky, founded in 1919 -- he spent most of his career as an attorney working in the city solicitor's office.
In his time there, he argued 30 or 40 appellate cases, including one before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In that case, Pittsburgh Press Co. v. the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, Mr. Strassburger represented the city of Pittsburgh in an effort to stop the newspaper from advertising gender-specific want ads.
The human relations commission found that the Press violated a city sex discrimination ordinance by referring to gender in those listings.
The newspaper company argued the ordinance violated its First Amendment right to freedom of the press.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision issued in 1973, ruled in favor of the city, finding the ordinance did not implicate either freedom of expression or financial viability, because the ads were "purely commercial advertising," which is not protected by the First Amendment.
At that point, Judge Strassburger had been practicing for only six years. "I peaked early," he said, citing that case as his greatest success as a lawyer.
He spoke proudly, too, of his work leading the family division, noting that Allegheny County was in the forefront of making state law in the 1980s.
Judge Strassburger was also involved in the creation of Allegheny County's Court Appointed Special Advocates program in 1993. One of the first in the state, the program provides advocates for abused children in the child welfare system. It is expected to serve 500 children this year.
Throughout his career, Judge Strassburger has been active in the Allegheny County Bar Association's Women in the Law division. He has received both the Susan B. Anthony award and the Carol Los Mansmann award.
Carol McCarthy, who served for many years with Judge Strassburger in the Women in the Law division, praised him in working toward fairness and equity for women.
"As a judge, he probably has done so much for women," she said. "Not because they're women, but because it's the right thing to do. He just doesn't like to see people being treated unfairly."
The judge has been involved in the effort since 1991 and helped to develop a maternity leave policy for female attorneys, Ms. McCarthy said. He also has served for many years on the gender bias subcommittee.
Ms. McCarthy remembers once walking into Judge Strassburger's courtroom when her opposing counsel said, "'Boy, they didn't have pretty girls like that when I was in law school.'"
"Before I could even open my mouth, Judge Strassburger told him that comment was inappropriate," Ms. McCarthy said.
Senior Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr. praised his colleague's selection for the appellate court. "He has an incredibly strong foundation in law. He's seen almost everything, so he's going to have a good sense of how things got there and why they got there."
Even more than that, Judge Wettick said, Judge Strassburger will know to consider how an appellate court decision might affect the trial courts.
"He'll know when you need a complicated solution versus an easy-to-follow line."