August 3, 2016 |
Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bid by two high-ranking GOP lawmakers to intervene in a legal battle over the retirement age of judges. With no explanation, the court denied the motion by Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and Majority Leader Jake Corman (R., Centre). The ruling put the Republican leaders on the sideline of a closely watched battle that has erupted into a forefront issue for some of the state's top officials. At stake is a question to voters on the November ballot that would raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 - a decision that could alter the partisan makeup of the Keystone State's highest court within the next year.
July 29, 2016 |
In a highly unusual move Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear on an emergency basis a lawsuit filed last week by two retired Supreme Court justices and a prominent Philadelphia lawyer challenging the wording of the ballot question on the state's judicial retirement age. The three-paragraph order gave Pedro Cortes, Pennsylvania's top election official, until next Wednesday to respond, and it promised to hear expedited arguments....
July 29, 2016
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has rightly agreed to hear a challenge to a dubious rewording of a rejected ballot question. The question concerns whether the mandatory retirement age for judges should be raised from 70 to 75, which would extend the tenure of the high court's lone Republican, 69-year-old Thomas Saylor. Voters declined to do so in April. But GOP legislators had the result ruled moot and scheduled a revised question for November. The edited version mentions only the proposed mandatory retirement age, not the existing one. It thereby suggests that voters are being asked to limit rather than extend judges' tenures.
July 22, 2016 |
It was 3 a.m. on a November Sunday, and the car had just turned left onto Adams Street in Newark, N.J. Al-Sharif Scriven was in the front passenger seat, a .40 caliber handgun under his jacket, with hollow-nose bullets and a large-capacity magazine stowed elsewhere in the car. It was nothing about Scriven or the others in the car, but rather that the car's high beams were on that caught the eye of David Cohen, an Essex County sheriff's officer, who...
June 25, 2016 |
Thursday was a bad day for undocumented immigrants, among them Carlos Rojas. In the two decades since he illegally entered the United States from Mexico, Rojas, 44, has made a decent life for himself in South Philadelphia, working as a pastry chef and raising a family - while putting the ever-present possibility of deportation as far from his thoughts as he could. He found hope in a 2014 executive action by President Obama that would have protected him, as the parent of an American-born child, from being sent back to his homeland.
June 23, 2016 |
THIS WEEK, in Utah v. Strieff, the U.S. Supreme Court voted, 5-3, that drugs found as the result of an illegal stop could be used against a defendant at trial. It is a ruling that could be used to rationalize illegal police activity in the pursuit of so-called justice. It is a ruling that could serve as the backdrop for the creation of a veritable police state. But more than that, the ruling and the response to it serve as a poignant illustration of the strength of diversity, the power of principle and the importance of dissent.
June 22, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday declined to reinstate a law that gave groups like the National Rifle Association the right to challenge local gun-control rules in court. Commonwealth Court overturned the law last year on the ground that the legislative process used to make it had violated the state constitution. The gun provision had been added to a bill that addressed the theft of metals. The Supreme Court agreed "that the legislature violated the single-subject rule in an effort to pass an unpopular and irrational bill without being noticed," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery)
June 18, 2016 |
Call it a coincidence. Gov. Wolf, who supports merit selection for Pennsylvania's statewide appellate courts, nominated Superior Court Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy, a Republican, to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court on Monday. That will likely generate political goodwill for the Democratic governor as he closes in on a state budget with the Republican-controlled legislature. But Wolf appears to have ignored a list of judges, screened by his own blue-ribbon panel and ranked by merit, in making the nomination.
May 12, 2016
By Milad Emam For the past six years, Elizabeth Young has been living an American nightmare. Philadelphia police officers showed up at her house and tried to seize her home and car because her son sold $90 worth of marijuana outside her home. Young was never charged with a crime, yet she was soon caught up in Philadelphia's civil-forfeiture machine. With the deck stacked against her, Young went to Philadelphia's criminal justice center and fought to get her property back, arguing that she was an innocent owner because she did not know her son was dealing drugs, having been hospitalized during that time.
April 27, 2016 |
TRENTON - The state Senate on Monday confirmed Walter Timpone as a justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, resolving a political standoff that had lasted for most of Gov. Christie's tenure. The Senate voted 33-1, a sign of bipartisanship that stood in stark contrast to the contentious and at times ugly yearslong fight between Christie, a Republican, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) over the ideological composition of the court. With the appointment of Timpone, a Democrat, each justice on the seven-member court has now been confirmed by the Senate, as envisioned by the state constitution.