June 15, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Gov. Corbett has nominated state appeals court Judge Correale F. Stevens to fill a vacancy on the state's highest court. Stevens, Superior Court's presiding judge, would replace former Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who was convicted this year of misusing her staff and employees of her sister Jane Orie, a state senator at the time, to wage election campaigns in 2003 and 2009. She has maintained her innocence and is pursuing appeals. Stevens, a Republican, will need two-thirds approval from the GOP-controlled Senate before he can take the seat.
May 21, 2013
PENNSYLVANIA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille isn't on tomorrow's ballot, but a grassroots group with experience in judicial elections is calling for his ouster come fall. Castille faces voters in November in a yes-or-no retention election, an exercise almost always resulting in judges getting new 10-year terms. But Castille, a former Philly D.A. elected to the high court in 1993, retained in 2003 and head of the judiciary since 2008, has attracted his share of controversy.
May 15, 2013 |
TRENTON - In a case with wide implications for Shore restoration following Hurricane Sandy, the state Supreme Court heard an appeal Monday of a $375,000 jury award to a Long Beach Island couple who said construction of a barrier dune in 2010 deprived them of their ocean view. The Army Corps of Engineers built a 22-foot-high dune for storm protection in front of Phyllis and Harvey Karan's house after Harvey Cedars condemned a portion of their beach five years ago. A Superior Court jury awarded the couple damages in 2011, finding that the dune construction, while benefiting many of the surrounding homeowners, had substantially diminished the value of the Karans' $1.9 million home.
May 10, 2013 |
HARRISBURG — After a protracted legal battle, the state Supreme Court upheld Pennsylvania's latest legislative redistricting plan, saying the new maps comply with the state constitution. The court ordered the revised maps to take effect for the next statewide round of legislative elections in 2014. The redrawn maps had been the subject of more than a dozen legal challenges, from state Senate Democrats as well as residents in Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. Those groups argued that the new blueprint still unnecessarily split too many counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions, often for political reasons.
April 20, 2013 |
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Thursday moved to suspend the remaining elected judge on Philadelphia Traffic Court for three months without pay, citing her refusal to cooperate with an investigation. The high court gave Christine Solomon until April 29 to object, which her lawyer vowed to do. If the court rejects her defense and suspends her, that would mean Traffic Court would be entirely staffed by nonelected judges. Solomon was the only elected judge left serving after a federal grand jury in January indicted nine other current and former Traffic Court judges, charging them with engaging in rampant ticket-fixing.
April 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Molecules and chocolate-chip cookies, baseball bats, and Amazonian tree sap were all part of a spirited Supreme Court discussion Monday as the nine justices wrestled with the question of whether one should be able to get a patent for a human gene. If you slice up pieces of microscopic molecules, have you created new ones or just separated existing body parts, not unlike kidneys or livers, which are products of nature and not usually granted patents? And, more important in this matter, can you profit by preventing others from researching those molecules or providing lower-cost testing services?
April 5, 2013
A story in Thursday's Inquirer incorrectly reported which local counties would be unaffected by a state Supreme Court decision overturning a law allowing municipalities to abolish the jury commissioner post. Philadelphia and Delaware Counties have eliminated the jury commissioner post via a method that has not been invalidated by the high court. The Inquirer wants its news report to be fair and correct in every respect, and regrets when it is not. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, contact assistant managing editor David Sullivan (215-854-2357)
April 5, 2013 |
TRENTON - Environmental officials are entitled to conduct searches of private property where they have grounds to suspect environmental laws have been violated, New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court said in a unanimous opinion that homeowners and others who acquire permits under the state Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act agree as part of the process to allow such inspections, so long as they are conducted at reasonable times. In its 56-page opinion, the court said the government's right to search for wetlands violations carries restrictions.
March 31, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The state Supreme Court says it will hear - and fast-track - a case that will determine whether the justices, or any Pennsylvania judges, can serve on the bench past age 70. The court agreed Thursday to consider a challenge by Montgomery County Court Judge Arthur Tilson to the state constitution requirement that judges retire in the calendar year in which they turn 70. The one-page order said oral argument would be held in Harrisburg...
March 28, 2013 |
A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Comcast Corp. in a class-action lawsuit involving Philadelphia cable-TV customers who claimed they'd been harmed by the company's anti-competitive business practices. The decision overturned a decision by the Philadelphia federal courts to certify about two million Comcast cable-TV customers as a class to sue the cable company for $875 million in damages. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion. He was joined by Justices John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.