Judges

Matt Rourke / AP

A bill that would end elections for Pennsylvania’s three statewide courts is making its way through the state House. HB 111 would establish a “merit selection” process, where a bipartisan commission would choose judges and justices to serve on the state Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts.

 

Keith Srakocic / AP

The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are still in contention this week as GOP leaders file suit to block a map enforced by the state Supreme Court. Three Republican-appointed federal judges on Friday agreed to hear the case.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This week, 38 new trial judges in Pennsylvania are taking a key step on their way to the bench. As required by court rules, they have convened at Penn State University to complete a seven-day course of study designed specifically for first-time trial judges, often called “new judge school.”

Pennsylvania Courts

Across Pennsylvania Tuesday, voters will choose judges and justices in a total of 370 races at all levels of the state court system.

 

Many voters find it challenging to choose which judicial candidates to support, according to Maureen Lally-Green, a former judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the dean of Duquesne School of Law.

 

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Tuesday’s election may be in an off-year, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have statewide implications.

The highest-profile race is for a seat on the state Supreme Court, and seats are also open on the Superior and Commonwealth courts.

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court leans heavily Democratic right now, with a 5 to 2 majority.

The Republican candidate, Sallie Mundy, currently holds one of those seats and is seeking a full 10-year term. She was appointed as an interim justice by Governor Tom Wolf last year.

Duquesne School of Law / Facebook

A $7.5 million grant will help Duquesne Law School lead an effort to improve continuing education programs for Pennsylvania's judges, district judges, senior judges and justices.

Duquesne announced Tuesday the donation from alumnus Tom Kline that will create a center for judicial education named for the Philadelphia lawyer.

The state Supreme Court in December imposed a requirement that judges annually complete at least three hours of training in ethics and nine hours on other aspects of their job.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania primary voters are picking candidates for open seats on the state's appeals courts Tuesday, the only statewide contests on the spring primary ballot.

Eighteen people are running for Superior Court and Commonwealth Court, while the two major parties each have a single candidate for an opening on the state Supreme Court.

Five Democrats and five Republicans are competing for four nominations to serve on Superior Court, a busy mid-level appeals court that takes criminal, civil and family court appeals from counties.

Matt Rourke / AP

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack "billed taxpayers for $34,000 worth of groceries, two leather cuff link boxes, flags and thousands of dollars of candy and snack bars while living at his state-operated mansion and collecting a $162,373 salary."