John Edward Jones III was born on June 13, 1955 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania and raised in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania. Jones is a Lutheran of Welsh descent. He has 3 brothers David, Jeff and Jim. He has a share in a business operated by others in his family, Distinct Golf, which runs five golf courses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He is also an American lawyer and jurist from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A Republican, Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush as federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2002 and was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on July 30, 2002.
He attended Blue Mountain High School, Pennsylvania. He graduated high school from Mercersburg Academy and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College in 1977 and law degree from Dickinson School of Law in 1980.
After clerking for Guy A. Bowe, the president-county judge for Schuylkill County from 1980 to 1983, Jones joined the law firm of Dolbin & Cori. When he was made a partner, the name of the firm was changed to Dolbin, Cori & Jones. In 1986, Judge Jones began his own private practice, John Jones & Associates. He spent the next years as a trial lawyer. He married his wife, Beth Ann, in 1982. They have two children: a daughter, Meghan, and son John. He also served as solicitor for several municipalities, including his hometown of Pottsville, and was a part-time assistant Schuylkill County public defender until 1995. From around 1992 until his appointment to the federal bench, Jones served as counsel to the Reading firm of Roland & Schlegel.
Jones was the chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board from 1995 to 2002, a period marked by some controversy. He was part of a failed attempt to privatize state stores, and he banned Bad Frog Beer after determining that its label (a frog giving the finger) was in bad taste. He briefly considered running for Governor in 2001, but was appointed to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by President George W. Bush in February 2002. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30 and was commissioned on August 2.
He is best known for his presiding role in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, in which the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes was ruled to be unconstitutional. Jones is a member of the board of trustees of Dickinson College, a private, residential liberal arts college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 2006, He was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of the Year. In 2008, Judge Jones was awarded the American Humanist Associationís Humanist Religious Liberty Award at the World Humanist Congress in Washington, DC. And in 2009, He was awarded President's Medal, Geological Society of America.