Pennsylvania Superior Court judge Justin Morris Johnson was born on August 19, 1933, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, to Irene and Oliver Johnson. He received his A.B. degree from the University of Chicago in 1954, where he graduated with a Bond Medal. Johnson served in the United States Air Force from 1956 to 1959 as an aircraft commander, and from 1963 to 1973 as a major. In 1962, Johnson received his J.D. degree from the University of Chicago.
Upon graduation from law school, Johnson worked for the firm of Johnson, Johnson & Johnson, where he eventually became a partner and sole proprietor. After fifteen years at the law firm, Johnson became the assistant solicitor and assistant secretary for the Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh-Mt. Oliver board of education. He remained in that capacity until he became a partner at Berkman, Ruslander, Pohl, Liber & Engel from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, Johnson was appointed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, making him the second African American judge appointed to Pennsylvania’s Superior Court in twenty-seven years. While on the bench, Johnson served as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University Law School.
Johnson has served on the board of trustees for Mercy Hospital, Southside Hospital, United Way of Allegheny Company, and Princeton Theological Seminary, and is a life trustee of Carnegie Mellon University. He was chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Examiners from 1983 to 1989.
Johnson is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Citizen’s Award; Top Hat Award for distinguished judicial services; Homer S. Brown Service Award; Presidents Award by the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association; Award of Merit by the Pittsburgh Young Adult Club; and the Man of the Year Award from Bethesda Presbyterian Church.
Johnson is the father of three children and resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, Florence.