Politics & Government

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice

JOB DESCRIPTION

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is the highest judicial authority in the commonwealth. In addition to being the final court of appeals, it serves as administrator of the unified court system and is responsible for ensuring that all Pennsylvania courts perform their duties properly. The court hears decisions of the Superior and Commonwealth Courts and in certain cases, including those involving the death penalty, from the Courts of Common Pleas. It may also assume jurisdiction over any case pending before a lower court that involves an issue of immediate public importance. There are seven Supreme Court justices, the Chief Justice being the one having the longest continuous service on the Court.

Term: 10 years

Salary: $175,236.00

(Vote for not more than two)

Question: What does the phrase “judicial independence” mean to you?

Willis W. Berry Jr.

Party: Democratic

Address: Philadelphia

Birth date: Aug. 24, 1942

Education: 1968, Penn State, B.S.; 1970, Drexel University; 1976, Temple University School of Law, J.D.

Occupation: judge, Court of Common Pleas

Qualifications: lawyer for 20 years, 11 years as judge for Court of Common Pleas

Answer to question: No strings attached.

Seamus P. McCaffery

Party: Democratic

Address: Philadelphia

Birth date: June 3, 1950

Education: 1977, LaSalle College, B.A.; 1989, Temple University School of Law, J.D.

Occupation: Pennsylvania Superior Court judge

Qualifications: 39 years’ experience in the Pennsylvania legal system; decorated police officer; lawyer, trial and administrative judge (appointed by Supreme Court); 11 years, judge for Court of Common Pleas

Answer to question: The courage to assess the facts and apply the law free from political pressure or regard for popular sentiment. Unlike legislators, judges gain respect by proving they will decide each case with absolute impartiality, integrity and open-mindedness. To do this, judges must not fear retaliation from political entities or the media. If the public distinguishes the interpretive role of the judiciary from the law-making role of the legislature, judges will be free to perform their constitutionally mandated role independently.

Debra Todd

Party: Democratic

Address: Cranberry Township

Birth date: Oct. 15, 1957

Education: 1979, Chatham College, B.A.; 1982, Pittsburgh University School of Law, J.D.; 2004, Virginia University School of Law, LL. M.

Occupation: Pennsylvania Superior Court judge

Qualifications: 18 years as practicing trial attorney, Superior Court judge for 7 years, rated “highly recommended” by Allegheny County and Pennsylvania bar associations

Answer to question: Judicial independence is a matter of personal courage and integrity. It is incumbent on judges to make a sincere effort to educate the public regarding the respective roles of each branch of government and the importance of protecting the judiciary from undue influence. I decide each case that comes before me on its own merits. I am committed to the Rule of Law and to the protections guaranteed by the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.™

C. Darnell Jones II

Party: Democratic

Address: Philadelphia

Birth date: Nov. 23, 1949

Education: 1972, Southwestern College, B.S.; 1975, American University, J.D.

Occupation: judge, Court of Common Pleas

Qualifications: lawyer for 20 years; almost 20 years, judge for Court of Common Pleas; endorsed by Gov. Ed. Rendell, “highly recommended” by Pennsylvania Bar Association, rated top 500 judges in America, adjunct professor, University of Pennsylvania Law School/ National Judicial College

Answer to question: Judicial independence means doing what is right, both legally and morally, notwithstanding forces which overtly and covertly attempt to compromise or subvert the judicial process. Judicial independence is judicial accountability. I foster a culture where there is a willingness to allow the public to see what I do, ask questions about what I do, and make myself available to explain what I do. That breeds trust. Trust breeds independence, which is another word for respect.

Paul P. Panepinto

Party: Republican

Did not respond

Maureen Lally-Green

Party: Republican

Address: Cranberry Township

Birth date: July 5, 1949

Education: 1971, Duquesne University, B.S.; 1974, Duquesne University Law School, J.D.

Occupation: Pennsylvania Superior Court judge

Qualifications: Seven years as Superior Court judge, law professor for 15 years and nine years as a practicing attorneyAnswer to question: “Judicial independence” means that judges are able to perform their duties in a fair and impartial manner that comports with the requirements of the constitutions of Pennsylvania and the United States, and the law. Citizens turn to the courts to resolve disputed issues and/or to vindicate their rights. Judges who are able to perform their duties in the described manner serve these needs of the citizens in a way contemplated by our constitutions and the law.

Mike Krancer

Party: Republican

Address: Bryn Mawr

Birth date: Dec. 5, 1957

Education: 1980, University of Virginia, B.A.; 1983, Washington and Lee University School of Law, J.D. summa cum laudeOccupation: former chief judge and chairman of the Environmental Hearing Board.

Qualifications: practicing attorney for 17 years, judge for seven years. Annual Community Leadership Award, various volunteer activities

Answer to question: 1) Making decisions based on the law and facts of the case independent of outside influence or consideration; 2) the courage to do what is right even if that course runs counter to the agenda(s) of the other branches of government.

  Comments