Scirica was born on December 16, 1940, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in 1962. He received a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1965. He was a Fulbright scholar at Central University of Venezuela in Caracas, Venezuela in 1966. He was in private practice of law in Norristown from 1966 to 1980. He was an assistant district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1969. He was a Republican Pennsylvania State Representative from 1971 to 1979. He was a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas, Montgomery County from 1980 to 1984.
Scirica was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on June 19, 1984, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania vacated by Judge John Berne Hannum. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 17, 1984, and received commission on September 18, 1984. His service was terminated on September 11, 1987, due to elevation to the Third Circuit.
Scirica was nominated by President Reagan on June 26, 1987, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated by Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert. He was confirmed by the Senate on August 5, 1987, and received commission on August 6, 1987. He served as Chief Judge from 2003 to 2010. He took senior status on July 1, 2013.
In 1994, Scirica was elected to the American Law Institute and was elected to the ALI Council in May 2011.
In 2008, Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court named Scirica to be chairman of the executive committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
In 2011, Scirica was elected to the Council of the American Law Institute. He currently chairs an ALI Regional Advisory Group, coordinating the efforts to identify and nominate new members.
Scirica joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania Law School in July 2013 as a Senior Fellow.
Scirica wrote a dissent in the Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC case. He authored the unanimous opinion in the Winer Family Trust v. Queen private securities fraud class action.
His former law clerks include Gregory G. Garre, a former-United States Solicitor General, and Magistrate Judge Timothy R. Rice.