Voters Guide | Superior Court judge

November 2, 2013 

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT

Job description: The Superior Court was established in 1895. It is one of Pennsylvania’s two statewide intermediate appellate courts. The Superior Court is often the final arbiter of legal disputes. The Supreme Court may grant a petition to review a decision of the Superior Court, but most petitions are denied and the ruling of the Superior Court stands. Cases are usually heard by panels of three judges sitting in Philadelphia, Harrisburg or Pittsburgh, but may also be heard en banc by nine judges. The Superior Court often travels to locations throughout Pennsylvania to hear cases and is responsible for:

• Appeals in criminal and most civil cases from the Courts of Common Pleas

• Appeals on matters involving children and families

The Superior Court consists of 15 judges who serve 10-year terms. The president judge of Superior Court is elected to a five-year term by his or her colleagues.

Term: 10 years

Salary: $188,337

(Vote for 1)

Victor P. Stabile

Republican

Home address: Carlisle

Campaign Website: vicstabile.com

Date of birth: Sept. 14, 1957

Education: 1982, Dickinson School of Law, J.D., Law Review; 1979, SUNY Stonybrook, cum laude, B.A.

Occupation: Partner and managing member, Dilworth Paxson LLP, Harrisburg

Qualifications: More than 30 years of trial and appellate experience, former appellate judicial clerk, former deputy attorney general, recognized for exemplary community and pro bono work.

Answer to question: I have been involved in both the election and merit selection of judges. While election may depend heavily on funding, merit selection may eliminate qualified candidates for political reasons. Neither system is a panacea. Some combination of the best parts of each system that enables the best qualified candidates to be selected by the citizens of Pennsylvania and provides a method for fair and accessible competition would, in my opinion, improve the current system of judicial selection.

Jack McVay Jr.

Democrat

Home address: Pittsburgh

Email address: mcvayforsuperiorcourt@gmail.com

Date of birth: June 28, 1956

Education: Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, Bachelor of Science 1980; University of Pittsburgh, summer classes; Duquesne University School of Law, Juris Doctorate 1984

Occupation: Allegheny County Common Pleas judge, Family Division

Qualifications: Highly recommended by the Allegheny County Bar Association; recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association; nearly 30 years of experience practicing law in both the public and private sector; six years of experience serving as a trial judge in the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas, Family Division.

Answer to question: To my thinking, I cannot envision an elected or merit selection system that is free from political considerations influencing the process. I believe putting the focus of reform on eliminating the direct election of judges is misplaced. Rather, I support reforms that will mitigate the role money plays in the process, perhaps capping individual and political action committee donation levels and creating campaign spending disincentives. At this time, I prefer to trust the voters.

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