Judge Jones: A Devout Christian?

I need the help from PandasThumb readers:

Anyone who has a reference to news media referring to Judge Jones as a “devout Christian” is encouraged to add them to the comment section. My Google searches so far have been without much success.

You may wonder why am I asking you your help in this matter?

The reason is that on the Discovery Institute’s Evolution News blog, West is arguing that the media is portraying Judge Jones “as a conservative Republican who is devoutly religious”. While I have various news reports in which Jones is described as a Bush Republican appointee to the court, I have failed to find any references to Judge Jones being a devout Christian. Other than a New York Times article, West provides little information as to which particular newsmedia he has in mind.

West’s true colors become apparant quickly however:

West wrote:

The point here is to challenge the media’s effort to turn Judge Jones into something he’s not in order to defend a biased and sloppy ruling.

While West may believe, as the losing party, that Judge Jones’ ruling was biased and sloppy. I and others have in depth documented the various flaws in West’s claims. Given the well argued ruling, what else is one to do but to attack the character of the Judge.

So far I have found the above mentioned reference from the New York Times:

The oldest of four brothers, Judge Jones, who is 50, attended a private school, Mercersburg Academy, and later Dickinson College and the Dickinson School of Law. Asked if he was religious, he said he attended a Lutheran church favored by his wife, but not every Sunday


West mentions a House Confirmation Hearing which I finally managed to locate:

Santorum wrote:

John Jones is another outstanding lawyer and has served not just as an outstanding lawyer, but served the community beyond the practice of law.

West also makes much of Jones describing how, as a public defender, he saved a client, accused of murdering a 12 year old, from the death penalty.

Senator Specter asked the following question

I have one last question for actually all of you, a panel question. Some of our most beloved judges in history have been judges who made decisions that were against popular sentiment, or stood up to protect the rights of minorities or people’s whose views made them outcasts. Can you tell me of an instance in your career where you have stood up, took an unpopular stand, or fought for something, maybe a client, and how you stood up to those pressures?

Judge Jones responded

Mr. JONES. I served for 10 years, Madam Chairwoman, as an assistant public defender in Schuylkill County, and so very frequently I found myself enmeshed in unpopular areas representing unpopular people. In particular, in 1989, I represented an individual who was alleged to have murdered a 12-year-old boy. It was, as you can imagine, coming from a small town, a highly charged atmosphere. We had a week-long trial. I represented him throughout in a most difficult circumstance, with the community at large very much against him. He was convicted. I was able to keep him from suffering the death penalty in that case. But I learned perhaps more than anything else that I ever did as an attorney about the obligation that we have as attorneys to take on occasionally unpopular cases, and that at that time was the most unpopular case that I could possibly have chosen to have undertaken. And so that stands out amongst all the cases that I ever handled, or matters that I have handled as the most unpopular, but I was very proud to do that as an assistant public defender consistent with my obligations as an attorney.

It’s important to remember that as a public defender, Jones first most duty is towards his clients. That he managed, against much pressure from the community, to defend his client and save his client from the death penalty may seem, as West puts it, “[not] in sync with most conservatives’ attitudes toward crime and punishment”

So far the following picture emerges

“Judge Jones, a lifelong Christian, a Lutheran, a conservative Republican, friend of Sen. Rick Santorum and former Gov. Tom Ridge”


  • Jones’ Biography

    Prior to taking the bench, Judge Jones had numerous public and private affiliations. These included service as a member of the Board of Directors of the Union Bank and Trust Company of Pottsville, state attorney for the D.A.R.E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and chairman of a local foundation which awarded scholarships to high school students based upon vocal music ability. He has served as an Assistant Scoutmaster, and has been extensively involved with both the local and national Boy Scouts of America.

  • Life long Christian

    Yesterday’s “Intelligent Design” ruling in Pennsylvania will certainly earn Judge John E. Jones III predictable vilification as a “liberal, activist judge” by people who don’t care much for facts. However, those who are upset about the judge’s strongly worded rebuke of ID have no one other than Bush to blame– after all, it was Bush who appointed the lifelong Christian conservative Republican to the bench in 2002.

  • Church going conservative republican

    Judge Jones is a church-going, conservative Republican who was appointed to the federal bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush.

  • Renaissance man

    But Judge Jones is praised by people on both sides of the aisle as a man of integrity and intellect who takes seriously his charge to be above partisanship. He appears to define himself less by his party affiliation than by his connection to the Pennsylvania coal town where he still lives, and to a family that grabbed education as a rope to climb out of the anthracite mines, and never let go.

    Clifford A. Rieders, a lawyer in Williamsport who is past president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, said he had found Judge Jones to be “moderate, thoughtful” and “universally well regarded.”

    “I think that his connections are not so politicized, nor is he so ambitious that he would be influenced in any way by those kinds of considerations,” said Mr. Rieders, a Democrat.

    Mr. Ridge called him a “renaissance man” and “the right kind of person to be presiding over a trial of such emotional and historic importance.” He added, “I don’t think he goes in with a point of view based on anything prior. I really don’t. I think he loves the challenge.

  • Meticulously prepared

    David French, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, recalls Jones as “meticulously prepared” and called his ruling “respectful of precedent.”

    “He is grounded to existing case law in the Third Circuit; he is not trying to break new ground,” said French, who is now executive director of the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a civil liberties advocacy group.