January 4, 1994 |
Ronald D. Castille was sworn in yesterday as the newest member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the new justice promised to work hard to help reform the embattled court and repair its tarnished reputation. "We must begin to restore respect for the court. . . . The time for change is at hand," Castille, 49, told more than 100 friends and political supporters in the packed ceremonial courtroom at City Hall. "I intend to play an active role in the reform of our court system.
April 10, 2010 |
Ronald Castille remembers getting sideways looks for years after state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen was impeached. The looks came at national judicial conferences, when Castille, now the court's chief justice, was recognized as hailing from Pennsylvania. Judges from other states would ask, " 'Isn't that the state where one justice tried to run over another justice?' " Castille recalled Friday, referring to the controversy that so damaged the court's image in the 1990s.
September 5, 2005 |
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist once said that his job gave him some of the tools to be "first among equals" on the Supreme Court, but that what he achieved depended on how well he used those tools. "The chief justice brings to office no one but himself," Rehnquist said. The chief takes a seat with eight other justices he did not appoint and cannot control, so getting anything done depends on more than the structural aspects of the job. It requires a sense of history, perhaps, as well as the power of persuasion and the ability to read the nation's social and political currents.
January 21, 2005 |
He walked with a cane and spoke in a weaker and raspier voice than normal, but Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist nonetheless looked vigorous yesterday as he administered the oath of office to President Bush. While some television observers noted how weak and frail the chief justice appeared, in truth the 80-year-old did not look much different than usual - and seemed healthier than many had speculated. Battling an aggressive form of thyroid cancer, the chief justice has been absent from the bench since late October, fueling speculation that he might retire soon and give Bush his first occasion to fill a Supreme Court seat.
January 15, 2008 |
Ronald D. Castille, the former district attorney of Philadelphia who was elected a justice of the state's highest court in 1993, was formally installed yesterday as the new chief justice of Pennsylvania. In a ceremony attended by the elite of Pennsylvania's legal community, Castille, 63, became the 55th chief justice of the nation's oldest appellate court. He succeeds Ralph J. Cappy, who retired this month. Castille told the audience in the Supreme Court chamber at City Hall that the nation's courts must be independent of the two other branches of government and that justices, who are elected in Pennsylvania, do not serve the political parties in which they ran. "We are simply elected to serve a higher calling, and that calling is justice," said Castille, a Republican, who reminded those assembled that justice must be equal and be imparted "even for the most hated and despised of our society.
September 12, 2005 |
It would be difficult to overstate the historical significance of this date, when John G. Roberts Jr. is sworn to testify at Senate hearings on his nomination to become the nation's 17th chief justice. If he is confirmed, as he is nearly certain to be, Roberts would be the first to replace a justice he clerked for on the Supreme Court. At 50, he would be the second-youngest chief justice in history, behind only John Marshall, whose tenure in the early 1800s established the court's broad authority.
July 18, 2006 |
Federal officials had hoped to launch a program in Camden this fall that would encourage wanted criminals to surrender at a Baptist church. Instead, the Camden idea will have to be scrapped, with the loss of thousands of dollars in grant money, because the New Jersey Supreme Court won't allow judges to participate. "There are concerns about having court procedures taking place in any religious facility," said Winnie Comfort, a spokeswoman for the court. Federal officials, who had hoped to copy a successful Cleveland program that netted more than 800 fugitives in four days last summer, are furious at New Jersey's highest jurist.
March 19, 1996 |
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix Jr. said yesterday that he was moving up his retirement date to the end of July, when he expects to have completed work on remaining court matters. "I'm going to miss it. . . . but I feel very gratified. I think I've done what I anticipated trying to do when I took office," said Nix, who has been chief justice since 1984. Earlier this month, Nix, 67, said he planned to retire by the end of the year. But yesterday, Nix said in an interview that he had decided to move up the date to July 31 after reassessing his workload and concluding that he could have that work wrapped up sooner than he had anticipated.
September 12, 2007 |
In 1993, when he was the Republican candidate for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald D. Castille said he had it all figured out. He'd win the seat, serve for 20 years, and by dint of seniority become chief justice for a few months when Justice Ralph J. Cappy (only those few months older) hit retirement age at 70. Thanks to Cappy's decision yesterday to leave the bench early, Castille's scenario is coming true ahead of schedule. Cappy, 64, a Democrat from Pittsburgh who has been chief justice since 2003 and a justice since 1990, said he had time to think about the future while recovering from hip-replacement surgery in July.
July 31, 1996 |
Today, without fanfare, an era ends on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Chief Justice Robert N.C. Nix Jr. - who joined the court nearly a quarter-century ago, who became the first African American to head any state's highest court, and who weathered the most turbulent period in the Pennsylvania high court's history - retires today. For Nix, who turned 68 this month, it has been a quiet departure. There have been no ceremonies, no state-level proclamations, no official marking of the occasion, although state and local bar associations plan to honor him in September.