David Norman Wecht is an American attorney and jurist, currently serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Prior to his election in 2015, Wecht had served on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania since 2011, when he was elected to a 10-year term.
Early life and education
He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 20, 1962. Wecht is the son of Cyril Wecht, a nationally-recognized pathologist and former Allegheny County medical examiner, known for famously disagreeing with the single-bullet theory in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. His mother spent the first six years of her life living under Nazi occupation in Norway.
Wecht graduated from the Shady Side Academy in 1980. He then attended Yale College, where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated with the distinction summa cum laude for his studies in history and political science in 1984. Wecht then attended Yale Law School where he served on the Yale Law Journal and graduated in 1987. He clerked for federal judge George MacKinnon in Washington, D.C. and worked as an associate at Williams & Connolly.
Before his election to the Superior Court in 2011, Wecht served in Allegheny County government, holding elected executive and judicial offices since 1998. Wecht served as Allegheny County's elected register of wills and clerk of orphans' court from 1998 to 2003, and then trial judge from February 2003 until January 2012, working extensively in the civil and family divisions. From 2009 to 2011, he served an administrative judge of the Family Division, where he was credited for implementing several reforms, including a conflict counsel program for juvenile delinquency cases, and a unified family court, in which the same jurist guides a family through its entire experience with the court.
Wecht ran as a Democrat for Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2015, and was part of a Democratic sweep of all three court vacancies, along with Kevin Dougherty and Christine Donohue. They defeated Republican candidates Judith Olsen, Michael George, and Anne Covey in a campaign that has been described by media outlets and advocacy groups as the "most expensive judicial election in U.S. history". Wecht campaigned on a "five-point plan" to improve transparency and ethical standards in the Pennsylvania judiciary, calling for a ban on nepotism and gifts to judges, "mandatory ethics training" for judges, a requirement that judges state for the record why they are recusing themselves from a case, and the implementation of cameras in the courtroom except in the cases of child abuse and juvenile cases.
In August 2018, Wecht partially concurred when the majority found that the criminal conviction of a rapper for making a song entitled "Fuck the Police" did not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution because the song was found to contain true threats.