President’s Message May/June 2015


How does the average voter have any knowledge of the qualifications of candidates for State Supreme Court?  Pennsylvania voters have the historical opportunity to choose 3 new judges to the highest and oldest court in the Commonwealth.  A situation that has not occurred for about 300+ years!  The outcome in the November election will set the stage and tone for our state Supreme Court for a very long time. The role of the courts in upholding our Constitution and protecting our rights is a vital component to our democracy.  Yet, through the election process, we perceive judges just like other elected officials.  And in that process we can ignore the fundamental differences in their role. Judges are not supposed to be our representatives.  “Judges make decisions based on the facts and the law, not according to their personal beliefs or popular will.”

So…..How does one “Judge a Judge”?

  • Look at the ratings from the bar associations.
  • Attend candidate forums.
  • Read Voters Guide.
  • Consider the following questions suggested by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts:
  1. What is the candidate’s level of legal knowledge and experience?
  2. Does the candidate have a good reputation for fairness and impartiality?
  3. Does the candidate demonstrate a commitment to high ethical standards?
  4. Has the candidate demonstrated a commitment to the community, including ongoing legal education, mentoring young lawyers, pro bono work and charitable activities?

Don’t forget – we also have decisions to make for the PA Commonwealth Court, the Superior Court, and the Magisterial district courts.  For more information on the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System view the following link: www.PACOURTS.US

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