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NEWS
May 9, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - When Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) opened a speech to Pennsylvania political insiders in late April, he pointed to his record of bipartisan cooperation with Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) in advancing judges nominated by President Obama. But Democrats and their liberal allies accused Toomey this week of quietly creating trouble for a Philadelphia nominee he had publicly praised. Toomey rejected the allegation, saying he still supported Luis Felipe Restrepo, a District Court judge, for a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, based in Philadelphia.
NEWS
March 26, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Central Pennsylvania prosecutors are investigating a handwritten, anonymous letter with racially offensive language delivered to the home of Gov. Wolf's embattled choice to lead the Pennsylvania State Police. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Inquirer, was placed Monday evening in the mailbox of acting State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown, the State Police confirmed. "No n- lover will wear my uniform," the letter said. Brown's nomination has been opposed by former troopers and their allies, in part because he has chosen to wear their uniform despite not graduating from the state police academy or climbing the ranks in Pennsylvania.
NEWS
March 21, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf's nominee to head the Pennsylvania State Police has stepped into yet another controversy. Acting State Police Chief Marcus Brown was captured on video removing signs that criticized him from the side of a public roadway. Brown has faced scrutiny in recent weeks for choosing to wear the Pennsylvania State Police uniform despite not having attended the state's Police Academy. The two signs were critical of that decision, reading, "Marcus Brown didn't earn it!"
NEWS
March 18, 2015 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - The New Jersey Senate narrowly voted Monday to confirm Gov. Christie's nominee to the Pinelands Commission, a move widely seen as a victory for the governor in his effort to allow construction of a pipeline through parts of the historic preserve. Environmentalists and a mix of Democrats and Republican lawmakers opposed the nomination, arguing that the Pinelands should be protected and questioning the process by which Robert Barr was confirmed. "Violating the Pinelands is a terrible choice," Sen. Bob Smith (D., Middlesex)
NEWS
March 4, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
Four former New Jersey governors have written an open letter to the state Senate urging members to reject Robert Barr's nomination to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission. Last year, Gov. Christie nominated Barr, secretary of the Cape May Democratic Association, to replace Robert Jackson after Jackson voted to bar South Jersey Gas from building a pipeline through 10 miles of protected pine forest. With the vote tied at 7-7 with one recusal, the application for a special waiver was denied.
NEWS
February 27, 2015 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
  HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf and Senate Republicans on Wednesday resolved a dispute over a slate of last-minute nominees by outgoing Gov. Tom Corbett. The Senate confirmed 12 of Corbett's original 28 nominees, including former Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley as a Temple University trustee and Corbett's revenue secretary, Dan Meuser, to the State System of Higher Education's board of governors. Four others - including two Bucks County judges - are scheduled for confirmation at a later date.
NEWS
February 26, 2015 | By David O'Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday narrowly approved Gov. Christie's nomination of Robert Barr to serve on the Pinelands Commission. Barr, secretary of the Cape May County Democratic Committee, has been opposed by most state conservation and environmental organizations, which see him as a likely yes vote if South Jersey Gas seeks another waiver to build a controversial pipeline through the protected Pinelands. Jaclyn Rhoades, assistant director of the advocacy group Pinelands Preservation Alliance, said it appeared the vote on Barr's nomination was scheduled for Tuesday because Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D., Union)
NEWS
February 25, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - A Centre County judge tapped by Gov. Wolf to fill a state Supreme Court vacancy is withdrawing his nomination after coming under fire last week for an e-mail that some claimed was racially insensitive. Judge Thomas K. Kistler, the president judge in Centre County since 2012, confirmed Monday he is removing his name from consideration. In a statement, Kistler made no mention of the e-mail or the furor surrounding it. Instead, he said that "several circumstances have developed here, at home, in Centre County, which have dramatically altered the legal system and require my full attention.
NEWS
February 23, 2015 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, Inquirer Politics Writer
All the potential candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination are on record favoring the traditional definition of marriage: one man, one woman. So far, though, most are not talking much about it. Same-sex marriage has become a much more complicated issue for Republicans since 2004, when master strategist Karl Rove helped put gay-marriage bans on the ballot in key states to boost the party's base turnout and help reelect President George W. Bush. Voters, including many Republicans, have become more open to allowing gay men and lesbians to wed, and the right is now recognized in 36 states.
NEWS
February 22, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Craig R. McCoy, and Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writers
The fate of a Centre County Court judge whom Gov. Wolf nominated for Pennsylvania's highest court was unsettled Friday as legislators and others questioned whether an e-mail he sent was racially insensitive. Wolf told The Inquirer that he had not seen the e-mail forwarded by Judge Thomas K. Kistler. "We're looking into it, and I'll be making a decision once I'm confident that I know all the facts," Wolf said in Washington, where he was attending a governors' conference. At the same time, questions also emerged about a harassment complaint once filed against Wolf's other nominee for the high court, Ken Gormley, a dean at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh.
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