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NEWS
March 26, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court has dismissed litigation to reform the way Philadelphia reimburses lawyers appointed to defend indigent clients facing the death penalty. The four-justice majority filed an unsigned per curiam order Friday that did not explain why the jurists, including Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, decided to end the case. The majority thanked Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner for his "exemplary efforts and analysis. " Castille named Lerner in 2011 to study allegations that Philadelphia's pay scale for lawyers appointed to capital cases was so low it violated their clients' constitutional right to effective counsel.
NEWS
March 23, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
The state's highest court will consider whether Camden residents should have been allowed to vote on the disbanding of its police force two years ago. The case, headed to the Supreme Court, is unlikely to affect the current Camden County Metro police division but could have implications on how local governments and petitioners interact on divisive issues. Many of the petitioners who challenged the city two years ago say they're no longer fighting to roll back the new force but for the rights of citizens.
NEWS
March 21, 2014 | BY ERWIN CHEMERINSKY
  JUSTICE Ruth Bader Ginsburg should retire from the Supreme Court after the completion of the current term in June. She turned 81 on Saturday and by all accounts she is healthy and physically and mentally able to continue. But only by resigning this summer can she ensure that a Democratic president will be able to choose a successor who shares her views and values. A great deal turns on who picks Ginsburg's successor. There are, for example, four likely votes to overturn Roe v. Wade on the current court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. If a Republican president selects Ginsburg's replacement, that justice easily could be the fifth vote needed to allow the government to prohibit all abortions.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court should take the unusual step of immediately overturning a Philadelphia judge's decision that Delaware is the only place to settle the Inquirer ownership dispute, according to a request filed by one group of owners. Not so - on several levels, the other group said Tuesday. In a filing last week, attorneys for owners Lewis Katz and H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest argued that not only were their clients harmed by the "unfounded" opinion last month of Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia A. McInerney, but it "improperly deprives Pennsylvania citizens of their right to seek recourse in the local courts," and could have "far-reaching implications even beyond Pennsylvania.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Ending a closely watched case, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal of a controversial 2006 Hazleton, Pa., ordinance that barred undocumented immigrants from renting homes in the Luzerne County city. The ordinance was not being enforced pending the outcome of the legal battle, but it had been among the first in a series of restrictions enacted by municipalities nationwide, and challenged by advocates for immigrants and by the federal government. The ordinance was deemed unconstitutional last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, which held that Hazleton's attempt to regulate immigration "unduly interfered" with a fundamental function of the federal government.
NEWS
January 10, 2014
OUR GOVERNOR sure has ups and downs. One week his state's high court blows up a big part of his big Marcellus Shale law. Another week he has fun at the Farm Show posing for pictures with a pig. Such is life in executive office. But as Tom Corbett starts his re-election year, such ups and downs take on added weight. He's called America's most vulnerable governor. But it's said if Democrats pick front-runner Allyson Schwartz to oppose him, he grabs a second term. I've listened to the "he can't win. " I've heard all the "she can't win. " It's just too soon for absolutes.
NEWS
November 28, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Lancaster County cabinet maker who says the Affordable Care Act's mandate on contraception coverage violates his business' religious rights will have the chance to argue his case before the U.S. Supreme Court next year. Justices on Tuesday chose an appeal from Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. of East Earl as one of two they will hear on an issue that has divided lower courts and become the subject of roughly 40 lawsuits from companies seeking exemption from having to cover birth control for their employees.
NEWS
November 20, 2013 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON Judge Faustino Fernandez-Vina of Camden County won unanimous approval Monday from the New Jersey Senate to serve on the state Supreme Court. The Superior Court assignment judge is to be sworn in Tuesday and will participate in oral arguments later in the morning, court officials said. Fernandez-Vina, who the Christie administration said is a Republican, replaces Republican Helen Hoens on the seven-member court, which has two vacancies. In August, Gov. Christie announced that he would not renominate Hoens amid a battle with the Legislature's majority Democrats over the court's partisan balance, and nominated Fernandez-Vina.
NEWS
November 7, 2013 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
A vote to approve a settlement in the Mount Holly housing bias case will not be held this evening as planned, according to a cryptic news release issued by the township council less than four hours before the 7 p.m. meeting. But the meeting has not been canceled and will be held at the Holbein School, 333 Levis Drive. The civil rights case, which is scheduled for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 4, involves a group of 30 low-income residents who contend the town's plans to demolish their homes and redevelop the Mount Holly Gardens neighborhood are discriminatory.
NEWS
November 1, 2013 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Wednesday that if reelected next week, he would push to ban judges from hiring relatives or hearing cases brought by lawyers who have made substantial contributions to their campaigns. In a meeting with the Inquirer Editorial Board, Castille said an overhaul of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct was among his main goals should he win retention. Castille, a Republican, has been on the court for nearly three decades and its chief since 2008.
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