Barron Patterson McCune

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Barron Patterson McCune
Barron Patterson McCune.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
In office
December 18, 1970 – April 1, 1985
Nominated by Richard Nixon
Preceded by None[nb 1]
Succeeded by William Lloyd Standish[2]
Personal details
Born February 19, 1915
West Newton, Pennsylvania
Died September 10, 2008(2008-09-10) (aged 93)
Washington, Pennsylvania
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Edna Markey[3]
Alma mater Washington and Jefferson College
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Religion Presbyterian
Military service
Service/branch U.S. Naval Reserve
Years of service 1942–1948
Battles/wars World War II

Barron Patterson McCune (February 19, 1915 – September 10, 2008) was a United States federal judge.

He was born in West Newton, Pennsylvania in 1915 and attended Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania.[4] As a student, he submitted jokes told by history professor Dr. Alfred Sweet to Judge magazine, splitting the $2 check from the publication.[4] He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, as well as the Buskin Club, a theater organization.[5] McCune received an A.B. from Washington and Jefferson College in 1935.[4] As McCune then took a job with Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, his father encouraged him to study law.[4] He entered University of Pennsylvania Law School and earned an LL.B. in 1938.[1]

After graduation, he rejected a job offer in Philadelphia, but he felt that the $1,800 salary wasn't enough to live on.[6] He returned to Washington, Pennsylvania in 1939 to work in his own private practice, serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a gunnery officer from 1942 to 1948.[1][7] In 1964, he became a judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Washington County, Pennsylvania.[1] On December 8, 1970, he was nominated by President Richard Nixon to a new seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania; he was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 16, 1970.[1] He assumed senior status in 1985.[1]

During his tenure on the court, he heard a wide variety of cases, including a case involving cocaine trafficking in Major League Baseball and an insurance law case determining whether certain women with breast cancer had insurance coverage for bone marrow transplants.[4] He held in favor of Allegheny County in a challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union to a display of the Nativity scene at the Allegheny County Courthouse.[3][nb 2]

He was known for being a large man, standing 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 215 pounds, and his judicial demeanor was marked by his "one-liners, an imposing demeanor, and a penchant for cigars."[3] He retired from the bench in 1995.[7]

He was active with his alma mater, Washington & Jefferson College, serving on the Board of Trustees for 40 years, including a time as president of the board from 1976 to 1983.[7] He was an avid fan of the Washington & Jefferson football team, attending every home game until the age of 92.[4]

He was married to his wife, Edna Markey, from 1943 until her death in 1999.[3] They had three sons, Edward M., James H., and Barron P. Jr.[7] He was a member of the Church of the Covenant.[4] He died in 2008 in Washington, Pennsylvania.[1]

He always reminded me of a country philosopher sitting on the front porch of a general store. He had such a quirky view on things.

— Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill, [6]


  1. ^ McCune was the first to be appointed to a new seat, created by 84 Stat. 294.[1]
  2. ^ The United States Supreme Court overruled him in the case of County of Allegheny v. ACLU.[3]