All Things Supreme…

For those court watchers following the race for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, there are two items of interest on www.palawweekly.com , the Web site of our sister publication, Pennsylvania Law Weekly.

First, on the PLW’s blog, Managing Editor Michael Riccardi writes about his disappointment that state Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola, R-Dauphin, has dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for one of the two vacant seats on the court. Riccardi’s take is that Piccola’s outsider perspective will be sorely missed in the race. The word is that Piccola is dropping out because the Republican endorsements are expected to go to Superior Court Judge Maureen Lally-Green and Environmental Hearing Board Chief Michael Krancer.

Second, Peter Hall has a short item on what’s happening with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman’s vacant seat right now. While sources told Hall that Philadelphia Common Pleas Court James Fitzgerald still could be named to fill the vacancy, Gov. Edward G. Rendell has yet to make any announcement. When Justice Russell Nigro lost his retention election in November 2005, Rendell named Cynthia A. Baldwin to fill the seat by the end of December 2005. That enabled her to be confirmed in time for the high court’s first round of oral arguments in 2006.

With the court scheduled to hear cases March 5 and no word from Rendell, it doesn’t look like there will be a full court hearing those cases.

My question is: why the delay? The governor has had plenty of time to consider the situation. We’ve all seen what kind of problems can develop when you have only a six-member court hearing cases. The lawyers, judges, and citizens of Pennsylvania deserve a full Supreme Court considering these cases.

–Hank Grezlak, Editor-in-Chief

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