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NEWS
October 27, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Craig R. McCoy and Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Staff Writers
Seamus P. McCaffery, the embattled Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice caught up in the pornographic e-mail scandal, has resigned from the high court. McCaffery, 64, notified friends and associates Monday. He also sent a two-paragraph letter to Gov. Corbett announcing his intention to retire after 20 years as a judge. "It has all been a great honor and privilege, which I deeply cherish," it said. His resignation followed a weekend of intense and secret negotiations in which McCaffery, a former Philadelphia police officer and municipal court judge, was able to guarantee his government pensions and agreed not to seek another elective office, court sources said.
NEWS
October 22, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
In suspending Justice Seamus McCaffery on Monday and ordering the state's Judicial Conduct Board to conduct an expedited review of allegations against him, his fellow justices took a necessary first step toward restoring a semblance of dignity to the state's highest court. Recent events have made it excruciatingly clear that the Supreme Court is in a state of disarray. With Justice J. Michael Eakin stopping just short of accusing McCaffery of blackmail in an expanding controversy over pornographic messages, the court had little choice but to act quickly to address this corrosive scandal.
NEWS
October 22, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended Justice Seamus P. McCaffery on Monday amid allegations that he sent pornographic e-mails and threatened to entangle a fellow justice in the widening scandal after vowing not to go "down alone. " In a sharply worded order, four of the seven justices, citing an "immediate need" to protect the integrity of the state's courts, suspended McCaffery with pay on "an interim basis" from his $200,205-a-year job. The court also ordered the state's Judicial Conduct Board to determine within 30 days if there is probable cause to file formal misconduct charges against the justice.
NEWS
October 20, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected early this week to decide what to do about one of its justices caught up in the scandal over pornographic e-mails sent among state employees. But what action the court may take against Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, who has acknowledged sending sexually explicit messages from a personal account, remains very much an open question amid intense last-minute lobbying, sources close to the court said. Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille has urged his colleagues to handle the matter swiftly and decisively by suspending McCaffery from his judicial duties and appointing a special master to investigate the matter.
NEWS
October 19, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A skirmish between two rival Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices over pornographic e-mails erupted Friday into a full-court brawl, with a third justice stopping just short of lobbing blackmail accusations, and other colleagues fretting that the fighting had begun to erode the public's confidence in the bench. Responding to reports that he had received racist and pornographic content on a private e-mail account, Justice J. Michael Eakin said he never viewed those messages and accused another colleague caught up in the scandal, Justice Seamus P. McCaffery, of threatening to leak them to the media.
NEWS
October 18, 2014 | Inquirer Editorial Board
State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery's invective-laced apology for sending pornographic e-mails only makes it more urgent to resolve his status on the bench as soon as possible. The backhanded apology, which had the audacity to question whether he "offended anyone" by sending or receiving more than 230 sexually explicit e-mails, criticized Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille for creating a "cooked-up controversy. " The jurists' antagonism is disturbing enough, but that a Supreme Court justice thought nothing of e-mailing porn destroys public trust.
NEWS
October 17, 2014
A DRAMATIC evolution has occurred on the issue of gay marriage, both at the Supreme Court and among the public. Some opponents of the court's decision last week not to uphold state bans on gay marriage are calling it a disaster, even comparing it to the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision of 1857. In fact, it is the opposite. Gay marriage means more freedom for individuals and less intrusion of government into the home. As a nation, we are simply applying our fundamental American principles of liberty to the present day. We should be skeptical and cautious of judicial activism, but the Dred Scott decision - which held that a slave was property and not an American with rights - is an example of the court trying to artificially freeze the social and moral development of the nation.
NEWS
October 11, 2014 | By Angela Couloumbis and Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania's Judicial Conduct Board will investigate a complaint that Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery may have violated ethics rules if he sent sexually explicit e-mails from his personal account to a state employee, according to a letter from the board. In the Tuesday letter, the board agreed to "conduct an inquiry into the matters" raised in a complaint filed last week by Harrisburg activist Gene Stilp. In his Oct. 2 complaint, Stilp cited news accounts that McCaffery in 2008 and 2009 sent e-mails containing pornographic content to an agent in the state Attorney General's Office.
NEWS
October 10, 2014
ISSUE | GAY UNIONS Courts proper venue In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, I have little doubt we will be treated to cries that the people should decide such an issue ("Court sends clear signal to states," Oct. 7). But should we really put equality up for a vote? Did racial segregation fall as a result of a vote? The courts are designed to protect all citizens and ensure that constitutional rights are accorded to everyone. That's what happened Tuesday.
NEWS
September 26, 2014 | BY MENSAH M. DEAN, Daily News Staff Writer deanm@phillynews.com, 215-568-8278
A SPOKESMAN for the court system said that despite the suspensions of two Philadelphia Municipal judges yesterday and the abrupt resignation of another city judge Tuesday, the work of the court will carry on uninterrupted. "We have senior judges who fill in for vacancies in circumstances like this," Jim Kovall, spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, said yesterday. It still is not clear who exactly would be taking over the case loads of suspended judges Joseph J. O'Neill and Dawn Segal, and those of former Municipal Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr., because Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield was unavailable for comment.
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