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NEWS
November 21, 2010 | By Mark Fazlollah and Joseph Tanfani, Inquirer Staff Writers
Last December, Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille mingled with the state's other power players at the Waldorf Astoria during the meeting of the Pennsylvania Society. The annual New York pilgrimage of schmoozing and socializing is usually an expensive weekend - but not for Castille. The Philadelphia law firm Saul Ewing L.L.C., which regularly argues cases before the Supreme Court, picked up the $1,900 tab for the hotel room and dinners for Castille and his wife, just as it had done the previous two years.
NEWS
August 4, 2010
By Peter Vaira When a serious accident occurs during a circus performance - a trapeze artist falls, a lion trainer is mauled - the clowns are sent in to distract the audience. In the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music , the singer of "Send in the Clowns" has gone through so much romantic tragedy that she feels, "There ought to be clowns. " Philadelphia's Family Court situation deserves similar treatment. It is indeed a circus performance with a serious accident. Millions of dollars in public funds have been spent on a construction project that has yet to get under way; legal fees are running in the millions; and legal community leaders are squabbling with the state's chief justice over questions one might find on a first-year law school exam.
NEWS
July 17, 2010
If state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille were a fan of social networking, he might use Twitter, Facebook, or a similar online service to throw out this question to cyberspace: Should the Pennsylvania courts be opened up to citizens in ways more in step with the 21st century? The answer should be obvious, as the chief justice no doubt would learn by a likely flood of positive online responses. Castille has at least begun exploring that question in a more traditional way, by directing that a Supreme Court committee come up with policy recommendations.
NEWS
June 27, 2010 | By Joseph Tanfani and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
After trying to put the brakes on an agreement to spend millions in fees for a new Philadelphia Family Court building, the city's top court administrator broke the news in an e-mail. "All this is moot," David C. Lawrence wrote in November 2008 in one of a series of e-mails obtained by The Inquirer. "The Chief Justice just told me to sign which I did. He counter signed as well. " As chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Ronald D. Castille controlled all state courts and personally supervised the $200 million Family Court deal.
NEWS
May 21, 2010 | By Joseph Tanfani and Mark Fazlollah INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
When Pennsylvania's top judges struggled to find a way to build a new Philadelphia Family Court building, they turned to a lawyer with political savvy and real estate experience. Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, a longtime real estate attorney and developer, spent months scouting for locations, and urged state officials to approve $200 million to build the courthouse. For his efforts, he is poised to earn a handsome fee from the courts: $3.9 million. His firm, the politically powerful Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, has received more than $1 million already - with the rest due by the end of June.
NEWS
May 21, 2010 | By Joseph Tanfani and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
When Pennsylvania's top judges struggled to find a way to build a new Philadelphia Family Court building, they turned to a lawyer with political savvy and real estate experience. Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, a longtime real estate attorney and developer, spent months scouting for locations, and urged state officials to approve $200 million to build the courthouse. For his efforts, he is poised to earn a handsome fee from the courts: $3.9 million. His firm, the politically powerful Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, has received more than $1 million already - with the rest due by the end of June.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
May 14, 2010 | By Nancy Phillips and Craig R. McCoy INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
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.
NEWS
May 11, 2010 | By Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers
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.
NEWS
May 7, 2010 | By Amy Worden INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
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.
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