World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

 

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Established May 22, 1722
Country Pennsylvania, United States
Location Harrisburg
Pittsburgh
Philadelphia
Composition method Partisanly elected and retained
Authorized by Pennsylvania Constitution
Judge term length 10 years
Number of positions 7
Website Official site
Chief Justice
Currently Ronald D. Castille
Since January 7, 2008

Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "[".px; ">

Philadelphia
Harrisburg
Pittsburgh
Court locations

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the court of last resort for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

History

The original Pennsylvania constitutions, drafted by William Penn, established a Provincial Court under the control of his British governors. The General Assembly, however, espoused the principle of separation of powers and formally called for a third branch of government starting with the 1701 Judiciary Bill. In 1722, the appointed British governor needed the House to raise revenues. House leaders agreed to raise taxes in return for an independent Supreme Court.

Predating the United States Supreme Court by 67 years, Pennsylvania's highest court was established by the General Assembly on May 22, 1722. Interpreting the Pennsylvania Constitution, it was the first independent Supreme Court in the United States with the power to declare laws made by an elected legislative body unconstitutional.


Composition and rules

The court meets in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court consists of seven justices, each elected to ten year terms. Supreme Court judicial candidates may run on party tickets. The justice with the longest continuous service on the court automatically becomes Chief Justice. Justices must step down from the Supreme Court when they reach the age of 70, although they may continue to serve part-time as "senior justices" on panels of the Commonwealth's lower appellate courts until they reach 78, the age of mandatory retirement.[1]

Prior to 2002, judicial candidates in Pennsylvania were prohibited from expressing their views on disputed legal or political issues. But after a similar law in Minnesota was struck down as unconstitutional (Republican Party of Minnesota v. White), the Pennsylvania rules were amended and judicial candidates may now express political viewpoints as long as they do not “commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the court.” (PA Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7 (B)(1)(c))[2]

After the ten year term expires, a statewide YES/NO vote for retention is conducted. If the judge is retained, he/she serves another ten year term. If the judge is not retained, the governor — subject to the approval of the State Senate — appoints a temporary replacement until a special election can be held. As of 2005, only one judge has failed to win retention. Justice Russell M. Nigro received a majority of "NO" votes in the election of 2005 and was replaced by Justice Cynthia Baldwin, who was appointed by Governor Rendell in 2005.

Only one Supreme Court Justice, Rolf Larsen, has been removed from office by impeachment. In 1994, the State House of Representatives handed down articles of impeachment consisting of seven counts of misconduct. A majority of the State Senate voted against Larsen in five of the seven counts but only one charge garnered the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

Under the 1874 Constitution and until the Pennsylvania state constitution of 1968, Supreme Court justices were elected to 21 year terms. At the time, it was the longest term of any elected office in the United States.

Supreme Court Justices

Current members

Name Born Elected Party When First Elected Year of Next Retention Election Reaches Age 70 Prior Positions and Education

Ronald D. Castille (Chief Justice)

(1944-03-16) March 16, 1944 (age 70) in Miami, Florida 1993 (retained in 2003) Republican 2013 March 16, 2014 Private Practice (1991–1993); District Attorney, Philadelphia County (1986–1991); Deputy District Attorney, Philadelphia County (1971–1985); J.D., University of Virginia School of Law (1971); B.S., Auburn University (1966).

Thomas G. Saylor

(1946-12-14) December 14, 1946 (age 67) in Somerset County, Pennsylvania 1997 (retained in 2007) Republican None – final term December 12, 2016 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1993–1997); Private Practice (1987–1993); First Deputy Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1983–1987); Director, Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection (1982–1983); First Assistant District Attorney, Somerset County (1973–1976); Private Practice (1972–1982); J.D., Columbia Law School (1972); B.A., University of Virginia (1969).

J. Michael Eakin

(1948-11-18) November 18, 1948 (age 65) in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 2001 (retained in 2011) Republican None – final term November 18, 2018 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1995–2001); District Attorney, Cumberland County (1984–1995); Private Practice (1980–1989); Assistant District Attorney, Cumberland County (1975–1983); J.D., Dickinson School of Law (1975); B.A., Franklin & Marshall College (1970).

Max Baer

(1947-12-24) December 24, 1947 (age 66) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2003 Democratic 2013 December 24, 2017 Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (1989–2003); Private Practice (1980–1989); Deputy Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1975–1979); J.D., Duquesne University School of Law (1975); B.A., University of Pittsburgh (1971).

Debra Todd

(1957-10-15) October 15, 1957 (age 56) in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania 2007 Democratic 2017 October 15, 2027 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (2000–2007); Private Practice (1982–1999); J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1982); B.A., Chatham College (1979).

Seamus P. McCaffery

(1950-06-03) June 3, 1950 (age 64) in Belfast, Northern Ireland 2007 Democratic 2017 June 3, 2020 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (2003–2008); Judge, Philadelphia Municipal Court (1993–2003); J.D., Temple University School of Law (1989); B.A., La Salle University (1977); Police Officer, Philadelphia Police Department (1970–1989).

Correale F. Stevens

(1946-10-06) October 6, 1946 (age 67) in Hazleton, Pennsylvania Appointed in 2013 Republican None – Interim Justice October 6, 2016 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1998-2013); Judge, Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas (1991–1998); District Attorney, Luzerne County (1988–1991); Representative, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (1980–1988); J.D., Dickinson School of Law (1972); A.B., Pennsylvania State University (1969).


Justice Correale F. Stevens was appointed by Governor Tom Corbett to replace Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who resigned effective May 1, 2013 following conviction on public corruption charges involving the illegal use of judicial staff in her unsuccessful 2003 and her successful 2009 election campaigns for the Supreme Court. Justice Stevens was confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate on June 30, 2013[3] and sworn in on July 30, 2013.[4] Justice Stevens will serve through the end of 2015, when a new Justice can be elected.

See also

References

External links

  • Pennsylvania Unified Court System page on the Supreme Court

Coordinates: 40°15′51″N 76°53′01″W / 40.264260°N 76.883578°W / 40.264260; -76.883578

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Fair are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.