Ernest D. Preate, Jr.
Ernest D. Preate, Jr. (born November 22, 1940) is a former Republican Pennsylvania Attorney General. As Attorney General, he argued before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case, Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey on behalf of Robert P. Casey, then governor of Pennsylvania. Preate also successfully argued another landmark case, Blystone v. Pennsylvania in the United States Supreme Court addressing the death penalty.
Prior to serving as Attorney General, Preate was district attorney of Lackawanna County. He ran for Governor of Pennsylvania in 1994, but came in second for the Republican nomination behind then-congressman Tom Ridge, who won the general election.
He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1966-1969 as Infantry Platoon Commander. He spent 13 months in combat in Vietnam and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. Preate earned 5 medals for combat service.
Preate was elected District Attorney of Lackawanna County 1977 and served until 1989. He was an active trial prosecutor, specializing in homicide and drug cases. As District Attorney, he won all 19 murder cases that went to verdict and obtained the death penalty in 5 cases. His numerous appellate arguments include 2 major cases before the U.S. Supreme Court where he was successful in getting the Court to hold, as Constitutional, Pennsylvania’s Death Penalty Law (which he would later argue against) and its Abortion Control Act.
He was a member of the National Association of Attorneys General where his colleagues elected him Chairman of the Criminal Law Committee. He was the Association’s official delegate to the American Bar Association, where he was co-founder and first chair of the Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association and received numerous awards for his service to law enforcement and the justice system.
He was elected Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 1988, taking Office in 1989. He was re-elected in 1992.
Admitted in 1969, Pennsylvania, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania and U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit