Thomas Hardiman’s wife, Lori Hardiman, is a lawyer who is from a prominent Democratic family in Pennsylvania, the Zappala family. Hardiman, the federal judge who is a finalist for Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, is a married father of three children.
Hardiman is considered one of four potential judges who might be nominated by President Donald Trump for the crucial seat on the Supreme Court. Hardiman is a George W. Bush-appointed federal judge. His wife’s full name is Lori Zappala Hardiman. Her family roots are based in Pittsburgh.
Thomas Hardiman, a once taxi-driving son of taxi cab company owner in a blue-collar Massachusetts town, was reportedly Trump’s second choice for the Supreme Court seat that ultimately went to Neil Gorsuch. He was originally on Trump’s shortlist of 25 people in the wake of the retirement announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy but many news reports said Trump narrowed that list to Hardiman, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge. Kennedy was widely regarded as a centrist and often swing vote on the court.
In the end, Trump chose Kavanaugh.
You can see a photo of Lori Hardiman here.
Here’s what you need to know about Thomas Hardiman’s Wife Lori Hardiman:
1. Thomas Hardiman’s Wife Lori Is a Lawyer & the Couple Has Three Children
Hardiman and Lori met at a law firm; they both worked at the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom firm in Washington D.C. during the early 1990s. Hardiman joined after passing the bar exam in 1990. According to her Martindale.com bio, Lori passed the bar in 1989 and was admitted in both Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. that year.
They have three children together; in 2017, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette listed the children as “Kate, 22, a senior at Notre Dame, Matthew 19, a freshman at Notre Dame, and Marissa, 16, a high school sophomore.”
Thomas Hardiman married Lori on October 24, 1992. When they moved back to her native Pittsburgh, he joined the law firm of Cindrich & Titus. When George W. Bush nominated him to be a federal judge in 2003, Hardiman was working for Reed Smith LLP.
Like Hardiman, Lori is also a Georgetown graduate. She earned her J.D. in 1989. She focuses on Real Estate Law and earned a B.A. from Rollins College in 1985.
Lori is still based in Pittsburgh. Her Lawyer.com profile notes that she currently works for The First City Company, “a group of skilled professionals involved in the development of commercial and residential real estate, and in related activities.” She’s employed as the Vice President and General Counsel.
Her bio at the site says, “Lori Hardiman has been with First City since 1993. She is responsible for the administration of the company’s legal work related to property financing, acquisitions & dispositions, tax appeal administration, lease negotiation & administration, general corporate decision-making, and ownership reporting.”
You can watch video of Thomas Hardiman’s nomination hearing to the federal bench here.
2. Lori Hardiman Is From a ‘Politically Connected, Heavily Democratic Clan’
Although Thomas Hardiman is regarded as a conservative choice for SCOTUS, his wife hails from a well-known Democratic family. The Pittsburgh City Paper says Lori Hardiman is from a “politically connected, heavily Democratic clan.”
Lori’s father is Richard A. Zappala, who was the Chairman of The First City Company, a real estate firm. He was also the Independent Director of Tristate Capital Bank, Inc. and Tristate Capital Holdings, Inc. from 2007 to January 2017.
Richard A. Zappala also has a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, the same university Hardiman and several of his children attended. The 78-year-old Richard A. Zappala also has a LL.B. degree from Duquesne University School of Law, where Hardiman is currently an adjunct professor.
The First City Company also employs Frank J. Zappala III as a vice president. Frank J. Zappala III’s father was also a director at the First City Company.
Richard A. Zappala also has a Family Foundation, which lists Lori as a secondary.
In contrast, Thomas Hardiman comes from a blue-collar family in Massachusetts. His father ran a cab and school transportation company, according to The Boston Globe. Hardiman, who is from Waltham, Massachusetts, “worked as a driver/dispatcher for Waltham Central Square Taxi in 1987,” The Globe reported.
“Many of his early clients were Zappala family-owned companies that were suing or being sued,” reports Pittsburgh City Paper.
According to the Globe, at the time he drove taxi, Hardman was transitioning from the University of Notre Dame to Georgetown Law School. He currently serves on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. He was born in Winchester, Massachusetts. Waltham is located about 13 miles from Boston.
SCOTUS blog reports that Hardiman was the “first person in his family to go to college when he went to the University of Notre Dame.” The blog says “he financed his law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center by driving a taxi.”
TribLive reports that Hardiman’s “Irish-Catholic parents wanted more for their oldest son than for him to take over the family’s cab business in suburban Boston.”
3. Lori Hardiman’s Uncle Is a Former State Supreme Court Chief Justice & Her Cousin Is Currently the D.A. of Allegheny County
The Zappala family has a history of public service.
As the Pittsburgh City Paper notes, Lori’s uncle is former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Zappala. Stephen A. Zappala’s son, Stephen A. Zappala Jr., is the current district attorney for Allegheny County. He’s been in office since 1998. He’s also a Democrat.
Stephen Zappala was recently in the news because he charged East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld with a crime in the high-profile shooting death of Antwon Rose II. “You do not shoot somebody in the back when they are not a threat to you,” Zappala said, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In December 2016, Stephen A. Zappala Jr.’s office earned national attention for being forced to pay a $1,400 ransom in bitcoin to regain access of its computer network after members of the hacker ring “Avalanche” took the network hostage, reports ABA Journal.
“The Allegheny County District Attorneys Office was the victim of a recent cyber crime referenced earlier today by the United States Attorneys Office,” Zappala Jr. said in a statement. “As technology continues to evolve, so does crime, and criminals are going to take advantage of that technology to always find new ways to victimize individuals, businesses and government agencies. As no cases were compromised as a result of this breach, we consider what happened more of a nuisance than anything else.”
4. Another Cousin is Gregory Zappala, Who Was Involved in a ‘Kids-For-Cash’ Scandal
One of Stephen A. Zappala’s other sons is Gregory Zappala, who led the municipal financing firm RRZ Public Markets, which was later bought by JP Morgan Chase in February 2003. Gregory later played a role in a “Kids-For-Cash” scandal, in which Pennsylvania judges admitted to sending juveniles to specific detention centers to get payoffs.
As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in July 2014, Zappala and several other companies claimed in a lawsuit that Robert Powell, who was later convicted, hired him to help build juvenile detention facilities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Zappala claimed in the lawsuit that he was unaware of the “finders fees” and “cash bribes” Powell took.
In the lawsuit, the companies claimed Powell “thoroughly corrupted the administration of civil justice in Luzerne County … ruined the Plaintiffs’ reputations; stole millions of dollars from Plaintiffs; and burdened Mr. Zappala.” Investigators found that Powell paid two judges millions when they sent juveniles to specific facilities.
In March 2016, The Times Leader reported that another dispute between Powell and Zappala was being revived. In 2014, Zappala claimed that Powell bribed a court administrator to give an environmental contamination lawsuit to a judge that was friendly with him.
5. Another Uncle is Charles R. Zappala, the Manager of Development Company Summa
Another one of Lori’s uncles is Charles R. Zappala, the manager of Summa Development. Charles R. Zappala is the brother of Stephen A. Zappala Sr.
In 2008, he was named a Commonwealth Trustee on the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees.
Charles R. Zappala was a founding principal of Russell, Rea, Zappala & Gomulka Holdings, Inc., in 1978 and is also a Notre Dame and Georgetown graduate.