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NEWS
December 23, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, STAFF WRITERS
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin tearfully apologized Monday for exchanging emails that included pictures of naked women and crude jokes that mocked minorities, gays, lesbians, and others. But the justice also said he had been the victim of a "media circus" - "dragged through the mud without the opportunity to address the misstatements and, in my mind, the total dishonesty in many of the news reports. " Appearing before the judicial ethics court that is weighing misconduct charges against him, Eakin said he regretted the messages, sent and received on a private account but made public because they were exchanged on government computer servers.
NEWS
December 8, 2015 | By Craig R. McCoy, Angela Couloumbis, and Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writers
Gov. Wolf on Sunday renewed his call for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin to resign, but the justice's lawyer said Eakin has no intention of stepping down. Wolf said Sunday that Eakin showed "a remarkable lack of judgment" by voting to fill a vacancy on the judicial disciplinary tribunal that is to weigh misconduct allegations against him in the pornographic email scandal. Elaborating on his criticism of Eakin's conduct, the governor issued a statement Sunday that reiterated his call for the justice to resign.
NEWS
December 7, 2015 | By Mark Fazlollah and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
In 2009, State Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin exchanged emails with some old friends, including a state prosecutor and a prospective lower-court judge. Among the topics: visits to strip clubs and sexual gibes about female staffers in Eakin's office. At one point, the justice wrote that he had "a stake" of 50 one-dollar bills to give strippers - to resolve his "titty-deficit. " In that email from June 18, 2009, Eakin wrote that an incoming Dauphin County judge would soon learn that a discreet judge "has to go out of state to see boobs.
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 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
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 26, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Three hundred eleven years ago, the last time Pennsylvania's highest court had three vacancies, their replacements were up to the royal governor and, by extension, the queen. The three court vacancies to be filled on Nov. 3, two of them due to scandal, don't reflect the best work of the democracy that determines the composition of today's state Supreme Court. Dramatic reform, not to say another revolution, is in order. Fortunately, Pennsylvanians have the power to reshape the court this time, as well as a field of promising candidates to do so. How to retrieve a high court from a low point?
NEWS
October 26, 2015 | By Chris Palmer, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The low-wattage contest for Pennsylvania's Supreme Court got a few jolts of energy last week, thanks to a blitz of television ads and the release of pornographic emails tied to a sitting justice. Probably not what the seven candidates envisioned when they launched their campaigns. After all, their race is the only one nationwide this year for a state's high court. And it's the first time since a British monarch ruled the state that three of the court's seven seats are simultaneously up for grabs - meaning either party could secure a majority on a bench tasked with interpreting far-reaching laws.
NEWS
October 23, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis and Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writers
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane says she will make public offensive emails of state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin to prove her contention that his misconduct was overlooked by the high court and the state Judicial Conduct Board. In a sharp letter to the Supreme Court, Kane lambasted the ethics board for its assertion that Eakin's messages were only "mildly pornographic. " The public, Kane wrote, "upon viewing these emails in their totality, will see them for what they are: offensive.
NEWS
October 21, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writer
HARRISBURG - A longtime Harrisburg activist is petitioning the state's highest court to force the governor and the Republican-controlled Senate to remove embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane from office. Gene Stilp said he would file a petition with the state Supreme Court because the suspension of Kane's law license was to take effect this week. Without a license, Kane will no longer be able to make key legal decisions as the state's top law enforcement officer.
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