Finally, new judge takes the bench in city’s federal court

At long last, the U.S. Middle District in Williamsport has another judge.

Matthew Brann, a Canton native who has practiced privately for the past 22 years, visited his new home, the Herman T. Schneebeli Federal Building in the last week of 2012.

It ended a long process of confirmation after Brann’s nomination by President Barack Obama upon a bipartisan recommendation of U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

Brann fills a vacancy left by the death of Senior Judge Malcolm Muir in July 2011. He is being sworn in privately, with a more ceremonial event to follow.

It gives the district an active judge to handle a building caseload prompted by two federal prisons in Lewisburg and Allenwood and the presence of the natural gas industry that creates inevitable disputes.

The appointment of the judge will save travel time and expense compared to trips to Harrisburg and Scranton on many of these matters.

An underrated fact is that it will also bring jurists, attorneys and others here for cases, an underrated economic benefit.

Frankly, this should have happened more quickly.

But at least it happened eventually and the Middle District has a long-overdue sitting judge here.