Stephanie L. Haines, who became the United States of America’s newest federal district judge when she was sworn into office on Tuesday morning, said that she is “beyond humbled and honored and thrilled” to step into Johnstown’s top federal judicial seat.

Haines, who until recently was an assistant U.S. attorney in the Johnstown branch office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, was sworn in as a U.S. district judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania by Chief District Judge Mark R. Hornak during a brief ceremony at the federal courthouse in downtown Johnstown.

Accompanied by her husband Scott and their teenage children, Haines placed her hand on a Bible and swore to “administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich” and to “faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon (her) as a United States district judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.”

“I am beyond humbled and honored and thrilled to be a member of this court,” she told a crowd of colleagues, friends and family members after taking the oath, “and I look forward to learning and working with you for many years to come.”

“Also, my court family here in Johnstown,” she added. “I’ve been so honored to work here with all of you for the last more than a decade.

“Obviously, a different role change for me now, but I’m so happy that I get to continue working with all of you, and I truly treasure the friendships and the professional relationships I’ve developed with all of you here.”

Haines then thanked her friends and family members for their support and took her first official action as a judge – administering the oath of office to Debbie Gregg, her former assistant in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and now her assistant in the U.S. District Court.

Chief U.S. Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, told Haines that she is joining “a great court with great traditions” and that he expects she will find the job “enormously rewarding.”

U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady, who as the head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania was Haines’ boss when she was a federal prosecutor, saluted her “phenomenal career” and congratulated her on her ascension to the bench.

Haines will take the judicial seat previously held by U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson, who took senior status in 2016.

After President Donald Trump nominated her to fill that seat earlier this year, the U.S. Senate in September voted unanimously, 94-0, to approve her nomination.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Juniata College and a law degree from Ohio Northern University College of Law.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.

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