May 15, 2010
Greece, Turkey forge new bonds ATHENS, Greece - Longtime foes Greece and Turkey held a historic joint cabinet meeting and signed nearly two dozen agreements in Athens on Friday, in a new effort to overcome old grudges through neighborly ties and economic cooperation in the midst of Greece's debt crisis. "I am optimistic that the groundbreaking and courageous step we are taking today can bring results, exactly because the will exists," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said during a news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
May 14, 2010 |
In a clash between judicial and legislative branches, the chief justice of Pennsylvania on Thursday denounced calls for a state Senate investigation of the Philadelphia courts, saying it would be "counterproductive and disruptive. " Ronald D. Castille, who is leading his own review of the city's criminal justice system, said he would order judges and other court employees not to cooperate with any Senate inquiry. "We already have a panel of experts," Castille said. "There is no necessity at this time for anyone to come in. " State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, who is pushing for the legislative investigation, was undeterred.
May 11, 2010 |
WASHINGTON - Solicitor General Elena Kagan is accustomed to dealing with strong-willed colleagues, which could prove useful considering the Supreme Court's membership and its coming agenda. Seventeen cases already are arrayed on the Supreme Court docket for the term that starts in October. If Kagan wins confirmation, she will join her colleagues in confronting controversies from the sale of violent video games to antigay demonstrations that disrupt military funerals. The court's 2010-11 docket eventually will grow to 75 cases or more.
May 7, 2010 |
Pennsylvania's budget woes have hit the halls of justice. More than two dozen judicial vacancies in courts across the commonwealth - including eight in the southeast - will go unfilled until 2012 because the state's top jurist says his cash-starved branch of government doesn't have the funding. Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, in a letter last week, made what he said was likely an unprecedented request to Gov. Rendell not to appoint anyone to fill 28 vacancies because of the courts' "dire fiscal situation.
April 26, 2010 |
When Justice Sandra Day O'Connor resigned from the Supreme Court in 2005, many commentators predicted a "battle royale" over her replacement. For 10 years, O'Connor had been the swing vote in cases about abortion, affirmative action, states' rights, and nearly everything else. Republicans were determined to shift the court to the right, and Senate Democrats braced to resist them. But by nominating John Roberts to succeed O'Connor (and later to become chief justice), President George W. Bush smothered would-be critics with a candidate of impeccable merit.
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.
January 17, 2010
The chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is taking some good steps in leading the effort to address problems in Philadelphia's troubled court system. Ronald D. Castille plans to order a comprehensive review of the city courts. He wants to hire an outside expert to review the problems. The chief justice also plans to appoint a fellow Supreme Court justice, Seamus P. McCaffery, to work as a special liaison to bolster operations at the Municipal Court. Castille would like to see Municipal Court judges streamline preliminary hearings.
July 8, 2009
In advance of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's scheduled sentencing on Tuesday, a list of powerful and influential friends - including the governor, a congressman, and a former state Supreme Court chief justice - have written the judge seeking mercy for the disgraced former pol. The letters from Fumo's pals say as much about the corrupt and contented culture of Philadelphia politics as they do about Fumo, who for decades held sway over politics...
June 30, 2009
In attempting to correct alleged "reverse discrimination" against white firefighters, the Supreme Court has made it easier to disregard past bias against minorities in making employment decisions. Of course, the majority in the 5-4 decision in the case of Ricci v. New Haven, Conn., would disagree with that assessment. But it's true. In telling the city of New Haven it shouldn't have gone the extra mile to ensure minority promotions, the court chose to ignore the very specific history of racial bias not only in New Haven's Fire Department, but also in fire departments across this nation.
May 27, 2009 |
Republican gubernatorial candidates mixed it up over illegal immigration, the tone of the state Supreme Court, and cutting taxes in a three-way debate on New Jersey 101.5 FM radio last night. Although analysts predicted that the establishment Republicans' favorite, former U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, would have an easy walk in Tuesday's primary, he has received stiff opposition from Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota in Bergen County. Two recent polls put Christie substantially ahead of Lonegan, but no one knows for sure how many voters Lonegan's grassroots efforts will draw to the polls next week.