November 22, 2015 |
ATLANTIC CITY - The recalcitrant City of Margate continued its efforts Friday to bollix the state's plans to move ahead with Gov. Christie's touted coastal dune system. Outside counsel for the Department of Environmental Protection asked Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez to approve eminent domain seizure of 87 city-owned lots needed for the project. But outside counsel for Margate argued that the city was at least entitled to an evidentiary hearing on whether the state is abusing its power by building the dunes against Margate's wishes.
October 22, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - A proposal to end elections for statewide judgeships - in favor of a system that would combine "merit selection" and retention votes - was approved by a state House committee Tuesday. The measure calls for a 13-member panel, appointed by the governor and legislators, to recommend candidates based on criteria such as professional competence and judicial temperament, said Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a nonpartisan watchdog group. Recommended candidates then would have to be approved by the governor and the state Senate, Marks said.
February 11, 2015 |
Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey on Monday slammed the judicial-evaluation process of the Pennsylvania Bar Association as "unethical, unprofessional, and less than forthright," contending that she was being pressured to drop her run for the state Supreme Court. Covey, of New Hope, said in a letter to association president Francis X. O'Connor that as a consequence of her treatment, Robert Morris, chairman of the Judicial Evaluation Commission, should resign. "I will not be a victim and I will not remain silent regarding the unethical and unprofessional activities I experienced with the . . . JEC," Covey wrote.
December 6, 2014 |
Score one for the beach bums of Margate in their quixotic fight against Gov. Christie's 127-mile sand dune. In court in Camden on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb told the state it can't just take Margate's land with an administrative order to expedite its shore protection project. She ordered her temporary restraining order continued until at least Dec. 17, a setback for the state that, in effect, allows Margate to stand in the way of a $74 million portion of the project ordered by Christie.
November 1, 2014 |
IN CRISIS there is opportunity - this well-worn but still prescient political trope is on the minds of at least nine judges considering the three open seats on the state Supreme Court next year. The high court has seen more jabs and pummeling than jurisprudence lately, as Chief Justice Ron Castille maneuvered to oust Justice Seamus McCaffery . McCaffery retired Monday after Justice J. Michael Eakin accused him of making threats. Castille has to step down Dec. 31, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. And time is up next year for Justice Correale Stevens , appointed last year to finish the term of former Justice Joan Orie Melvin , who was convicted of using her staff to do political work.
September 11, 2014 |
An attorney for a Philadelphia charter school urged the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule that the School Reform Commission overstepped its authority when it suspended parts of the state school code to cap charter-school enrollment. Robert W. O'Donnell, the lawyer, also argued that the 1998 law that led to the takeover of city schools violates the state constitution because it allows the SRC to suspend parts of the code "at will" without providing any standards to guide the suspensions.
June 28, 2014 |
In what the Philadelphia teachers' union hailed as a major victory, the state Supreme Court said Thursday that it would not get involved in whether the School Reform Commission has the authority to bypass seniority and impose other work rule changes. In the spring, the commission asked the state's top court to declare that it had the power under the state takeover law to impose the changes, including disregarding seniority for teacher assignments, transfers, layoffs and recalls. The 11,000-member Philadelphia Federation of Teachers opposed the SRC's moves.
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.
August 8, 2013 |
A state court has agreed to an expedited review of Montgomery County's issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but it did not bar the county from issuing more licenses in the meantime. Commonwealth Court ordered the state to submit an argument by Monday against the marriage licenses' issuance. The county will then have until Aug. 19 to file an opposing argument. After that, the nine-member court will schedule arguments and issue a ruling "on an expedited basis," according to an order filed Tuesday morning.
June 26, 2013 |
In what one advocate called the most important victims- rights ruling in New Jersey history, the state Supreme Court ordered Monday that a criminal defendant does not have an absolute right to skip his sentencing hearing. While crime victims have legal and constitutional protection in the state, including the right to tell the court how the crime affected them, there is no statutory requirement that the person who committed the crime has to appear in court to listen to the victim's impact statement.