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NEWS
March 10, 2015 | By Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
Is Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane trying to put herself beyond the reach of the law? Or is it a special prosecutor who is operating in illegal territory? That's the issue Pennsylvania's Supreme Court will take up Wednesday as it hears oral arguments in Kane's challenge to the special prosecutor who wants her arrested for allegedly violating grand-jury secrecy laws. The five justices - two of the court's seats are currently vacant - will hear from lawyers for Kane and special prosecutor Thomas E. Carluccio in a case crucial to Kane's personal and political future.
NEWS
March 6, 2015 | By Robert I. Field, For The Inquirer
WASHINGTON - The fate of Obamacare hung in the balance Wednesday as the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether the Affordable Care Act could continue offering subsidies to help people buy insurance in states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The 80-minute session - 20 minutes longer than expected - was often a strident affair, with justices grilling lawyers in ways that reflected their liberal and conservative bents. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was notably silent through most of the questioning, could cast the deciding vote.
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 25, 2015 | By Craig R. McCoy, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyers for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on Monday sharply criticized a Montgomery County Court judge, saying he should be removed from handling a case against her because he is biased and dislikes her. The lawyers denounced Judge William R. Carpenter in a 15-page memo submitted to the state Supreme Court as Kane seeks to block a grand jury's recommendations that she face criminal charges. In December, Carpenter approved a report from the jurors finding that Kane had illegally leaked secret information to embarrass a political foe and then lied about it. The jury recommended that Carpenter hold her in contempt at some point and that Montgomery County's district attorney arrest her on charges of perjury, obstruction, false swearing, and official oppression.
NEWS
February 25, 2015 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf's efforts to fill two vacancies on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court collapsed Monday after one nominee withdrew his name from consideration following a controversy over an e-mail he sent and the other was left in political limbo. Centre County Court Judge Thomas K. Kistler said he was removing his name from consideration after coming under fire last week for an e-mail that some viewed as racially insensitive. With Kistler's withdrawal, Senate Republicans moved swiftly to cancel the confirmation hearing for Wolf's second nominee, Ken Gormley, a dean at the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh.
NEWS
February 25, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School District is taking its attempt to cancel its teachers' contract to the state's highest court. District officials announced Monday that they had appealed to the state Supreme Court a Commonwealth Court decision that the School Reform Commission lacked authority to impose new terms on the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The SRC called the lower court's ruling "wrongly decided. " "We remain convinced that the SRC had clear statutory authority when it acted last fall to redirect a projected $200 million in savings to our schools over the next four years," the commission said in a statement.
NEWS
February 24, 2015 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
One by one, lawyers stepped onto the stage in a West Philadelphia community center and gave 30-second pitches on why they should be elected judge. Attendees of the 46th Ward meeting in the Enterprise Center last week enjoyed a buffet and listened to at least a dozen speeches, most fitting the same pattern: Name, brief mention of experience, pledge to improve the criminal justice system, name again. There are a lot of names to remember. Nearly 50 lawyers and six sitting judges have said they are running for Common Pleas and Municipal Court judgeships this year.
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.
NEWS
February 11, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
February 9, 2015 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Crowded with Washington-bound commuters, the Track 5 platform beneath 30th Street Station was swept by a cold wind as Ron Levine stamped his feet and blew into his hands to stay warm. On this unusually icy November day last year, Levine, a prominent white-collar defense lawyer and a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, and his colleague, Abe Rein, were on their way to the nation's capital. There, they would meet with other lawyers to fine-tune arguments in a Supreme Court case.
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