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NEWS
November 9, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Cause and effect collided last week as the scandal-decimated ranks of Pennsylvania's highest court were replenished in a flurry of money and mudslinging. The three Democratic judges who were elected to the supremely troubled court range from adequately to highly qualified, but so do the Republican judges who weren't. What made the difference was likely the deluge of money from unions, lawyers, and other interests, about three-quarters of which went to the Democrats. In fact, the top three finishers were the top three fund-raisers in identical order: Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Kevin Dougherty followed by Superior Court Judges David Wecht and Christine Donohue.
NEWS
November 5, 2015
AND SO from the ashes of yet another nobody knows/nobody cares statewide judicial election come results open to interpretation about state politics and the state's political future. Three Democrats with strong union backing, including Philly Judge Kevin Dougherty, swept three open seats on the state's highest (and sometimes highly embarrassed) court. Their win in what national court-watchers call the most expensive state Supreme Court race in U.S. history, topping $15 million, gives Democrats majority control of the seven-member court beginning in January.
NEWS
November 4, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin's emails were "juvenile and repugnant," and offensive to women and minorities, but any discipline for his conduct should be left to the Judicial Conduct Board, a special counsel to the high court has concluded. The special counsel's 25-page report, however, left unanswered a key question: whether two previous reviews of the justice's messages had failed to flag the offensive content, and if so, why. The report released Monday found that Eakin, using a personal email account, exchanged messages containing crude jokes between 2008 and mid-2014 that "would be offensive to women, African Americans, immigrants, and other groups.
NEWS
November 3, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Howard Paul Kester, 85, of Newtown, a former Bucks County Court administrator and a longtime Quaker, died Saturday, Oct. 10, of congestive heart failure at Pennswood Village. Born in Abington, he lived his entire life in Newtown, where he was a respected member of Newtown Monthly Meeting, part of the Religious Society of Friends. He graduated from George School and in 1951 earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Mr. Kester served three years in the Army before returning to school to earn a degree from Temple University School of Law in 1959.
NEWS
October 31, 2015 | By Julia Terruso and Chris Palmer, Inquirer Staff Writers
Philadelphia's 12 Democratic members of City Council endorsed Common Pleas Court Judge Kevin Dougherty for the state Supreme Court on Thursday, The event was a final push to drum up interest in one of the most competitive races in an election that could see dismal turnout numbers. The judge thanked the Council members and quoted Maya Angelou, saying, "'I'm sustained by the love of family,' but when I look around this room and I see the people who are standing behind me, I can share with you that Philadelphia truly is the city that loves you back.
NEWS
October 31, 2015 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
A lawyer representing plaintiffs in federal litigation over the 2012 Paulsboro train derailment asserted in a filing Thursday that Conrail misled the court about its training program, leading to an adverse ruling against those suing over the accident and chemical spill. The filing in U.S. District Court in Camden claims an affidavit by a Conrail risk officer provided false testimony, and that the company's training program for conductors - approved by the Federal Railroad Administration months before the Nov. 30, 2012, derailment - was withheld in court.
NEWS
October 28, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court decision that Gov. Wolf overstepped his authority when he fired the state's Office of Open Records chief just weeks after taking office. In a 3-1 decision, the justices said Commonwealth Court was correct when it forced Wolf in June to formally reinstate Erik Arneson. The ousting of Arneson from the $140,000-a-year job was Wolf's brashest move in his first month, sparking acrimony between the new governor and the Republican-led legislature that has lingered through the year.
BUSINESS
October 28, 2015 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The 76ers likely will lose many basketball games in their NBA season, which begins Wednesday, but the off-court team business looks promising. The team's local revenue is rising, team executives say without disclosing numbers, because they have invested in the business side since Josh Harris' group bought the team in 2011. Having a player payroll that is near the league low also helps. Beyond local efforts to keep and attract season ticketholders and corporate sponsors, the franchise value rose from $469 million to $700 million in the last year, according to Forbes, because the National Basketball Association last fall signed a nine-year, $24 billion TV contract with ESPN that starts next season.
NEWS
October 27, 2015 | Associated Press
HARRISBURG - Pledging to restore integrity on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court while shattering records for campaign spending, seven judges are vying for an unprecedented three open seats in the Nov. 3 election. Those candidates and six others eliminated in the May primary raised $10.5 million and spent $8.3 million through last Monday. They have stepped up their efforts in a battle increasingly dominated by TV attack ads, such as those aired by Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform, an in-state political committee that supports Democrats, and the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee on the opposite side.
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