U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel has been named as chief judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Stengel was set to take over the position from Judge Petrese Tucker, who has led the court since January 2013. The change is effective Tuesday.
Stengel was appointed to the bench in 2004 by President George W. Bush. In a press release, Stengel lauded his predecessor for guiding the court through a period of significant transition.
“She demonstrated intelligence, understanding and humility, she never did anything to serve her own ego and she has consistently listened and worked toward consensus,” Stengel said. “Our judges are grateful to Chief Judge Tucker for her commitment to our court and for her unwavering dedication to the process of delivering equal justice to the citizens of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She has every right to be proud of her legacy of leadership to our court.”
Tucker did not return a call seeking comment Monday afternoon.
Born in 1951, Tucker was nominated for a seat on the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Tucker became the first female chief judge of the district when she took over for Judge J. Curtis Joyner, who stepped down after taking senior status.
During her tenure, Tucker oversaw the hiring of a new clerk of courts, oversaw projects to revamp courtroom technology, and handled numerous high-profile cases.
Stengel, born in 1952, graduated from Saint Joseph’s University and received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He began practicing at Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, and then spent 14 years as judge on the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas.
Along with handling cases, Stengel has also played an active role in court administration nationally. Beginning in 2009 he served on the Judicial Resources Committee, which is part of the federal judiciary’s policy-making body, and he chaired a subcommittee on judicial statistics from 2012 until 2015. In 2015, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts appointed him chair of the Judicial Resources Committee.
In federal court, a seniority formula determines who takes over as chief judge, but several judges said in the press statement that Stengel was highly qualified to serve as chief judge as Tucker’s successor.
“Petrese Tucker has set a high bar for her successors, but few are as ready and able as Judge Larry Stengel who will bring his own congenial and effective style to this important role. We wish them both well,” U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe said.