June 18, 2014 |
TRENTON - The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approved Gov. Christie's two nominees - one a Democrat, the other a Republican - to the state Supreme Court, advancing with little dissent a deal brokered by Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester). The deal will likely keep Democratic Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on the court, while adding to the bench Camden County Republican Lee Solomon, a state court judge who has ties to Christie and has been praised by Democrats. The full Senate is expected to decide Thursday on the nominations of Rabner and Solomon, who cleared the Judiciary Committee by votes of 11-2 for Rabner and 12-1 for Solomon.
May 29, 2014 |
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court gave a rare bit of good news Tuesday to the cash-strapped Philadelphia School Reform Commission. The top court unanimously reversed a lower-court ruling that said the school district had illegally capped enrollment at Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School. The lower court had said the school should be paid $1.3 million from the district for students it had enrolled above the 675 enrollment maximum in its signed agreement. The Supreme Court overturned the lower court, said the charter was bound by the terms of an agreement it had signed with the district in 2005, and was not entitled to the additional money.
May 3, 2014 |
HARRISBURG Pennsylvania's highest court on Thursday said Gov. Corbett's only Republican challenger will not be listed on the May 20 primary election ballot. The state Supreme Court reversed a lower court in a 5-2 decision, finding that Ardmore businessman Bob Guzzardi's failure to file his statement of financial interests on time with the state Ethics Commission was a "fatal flaw" that disqualified his candidacy. Guzzardi is an outspoken Corbett critic who said he was running to give GOP conservatives an alternative.
April 11, 2014 |
TRENTON New Jersey Supreme Court justices gave a skeptical hearing Wednesday to a Burlington County prosecutor's argument that violent rap lyrics written by Vonte Skinner four or five years before he shot a man in Willingboro were relevant and admissible at his 2008 trial. Justice Barry T. Albin pointedly asked Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Paszkiewicz: "I'm asking you, how you can justify taking lyrics four to five years old . . . and somehow show they reveal a motive for a crime that occurs four to five years later?"
April 9, 2014 |
The U.S. Supreme Court opted not to weigh in Monday on an early challenge, brought by a Philadelphia man and a conservative activist, to the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records. Charles Strange of Torresdale and his attorney, Larry Klayman, had asked the justices to bypass the traditional appellate process to hear their case, saying the constitutional questions it raised were too weighty to wait for a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
April 4, 2014 |
THE PHILADELPHIA Federation of Teachers asked the state Supreme Court yesterday to toss out a petition from the school district and the School Reform Commission that seeks to eliminate seniority and other work rules, claiming they are bargained privileges. In its response to the district's March 24 filing, the union says the work-rule changes sought by the SRC have long been a part of the collective-bargaining agreement and are subject to the grievance-and-arbitration process, therefore the court has no jurisdiction.
March 26, 2014 |
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.
March 23, 2014 |
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.
March 21, 2014 |
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.
March 6, 2014 |
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.