August 20, 2015 |
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has said her legal problems stem from an attempt by enemies to block her from exposing their exchange of pornographic emails on state computers. But newly unsealed documents show that Kane was told nearly nine months ago by the state's highest court that she was not restricted from publicly releasing information about the messages. On Tuesday, the state Supreme Court unsealed two orders, both from last December, in which the justices ruled that Kane was not barred from "appropriate" disclosure of the pornographic images.
August 14, 2015 |
Pennsylvania's highest court will decide whether the Philadelphia School Reform Commission can cancel its teachers' contract. Had the Supreme Court declined to take the case, the SRC's move in October 2014 to cancel its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) would have been voided. The Supreme Court, however, through an order issued Monday, essentially gave the district another shot at achieving by fiat what it has been unable to get at the bargaining table. In January, Commonwealth Court sided with the union, putting aside the SRC's unilateral cancellation of the contract and changes it had imposed on the members' health-care plan.
August 8, 2015 |
Kathleen G. Kane, Pennsylvania's attorney general, must now decide whether she wants to fight a war with two fronts or just one. Kane, charged Thursday with perjury, false swearing, obstruction, and other crimes, could resign from the post she has held since January 2013, to focus on her legal defense. Or she could stick to her vow to stay in office, fighting the charges in court while contending with the possibility of impeachment by the Assembly - or even the potential suspension of her law license by the state Supreme Court.
August 2, 2015 |
Paul Panepinto, a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge for the last 24 years, on Friday became an independent candidate for the state Supreme Court. Panepinto, who ran as a Republican for the Supreme Court in 2007 and 2009 and for Commonwealth Court in 2011, filed 28,000 signatures on nomination papers Friday in Harrisburg. Independent candidates need signatures from at least 16,639 registered voters to appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Rob Gleason, chairman of the state Republican Party, promised to keep a close eye on Panepinto's petitions.
July 31, 2015
CALL IT A PANDEMIC of public corruption. It's gripping Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Elected leaders are probed, charged, convicted, jailed, etc. in stupendously striking succession. A stark irony? The city and state where American democracy was born is setting the national pace for illegality in office. You get the damage this causes, right? It undermines faith in government, faith in politics, faith in all elected officials. It spurs cynicism. It fuels frustration with those who fail at creating progress but succeed spectacularly at creating scandal.
July 29, 2015 |
At his most vulnerable moment, in frail health and facing sentencing for federal crimes, former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Fortunato N. Perri Sr. encountered a judiciary that was fair and merciful - that is, exhibiting the qualities his own court lacked. Perri, 78, was by most measures the worst of the nine traffic judges charged with fixing tickets for the city's connected - an ingrained form of corruption that Perri often orchestrated, even into retirement. He was the only one of the accused judges caught accepting personal gifts for such favorable treatment, including landscaping, car repairs, seafood, and pornography.
July 29, 2015 |
A state Supreme Court candidate warded off the summer doldrums Monday with a call to his five competitors to agree to a series of forums to focus public attention on a typically sleepy race. David Wecht, a Superior Court judge from Allegheny County, called for six forums, each in a major Pennsylvania media market, between Labor Day and Oct. 27, a week before Election Day. The candidates have drawn about $5.6 million in campaign donations so far, and many court watchers believe the race - the only active Supreme Court race in the country this year - could receive an influx of out-of-state, hard-to-track contributions.
July 23, 2015 |
Gov. Wolf on Tuesday asked the state Supreme Court to ignore Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane's challenge to his death-penalty moratorium, arguing that the justices had already decided to consider a similar petition brought by the Philadelphia district attorney. In a court filing that responds to Kane's petition, Wolf also repeated the claim he has made since February: That he has the right under the state constitution to temporarily stay executions as he awaits a Senate report on capital punishment.
July 14, 2015 |
How many lawyers does it take to fund a Supreme Court race? Almost a thousand, according to recently filed documents that provide a detailed picture of who gave to whom in this year's race for three seats on the state's high court. Why they gave - and what the benefits may be - are not always clear. Among the lawyers who collectively gave about $1.5 million to judicial candidates are some who likely will eventually represent clients before the state's high court. The host of litigators is joined by political action committees, unions, business owners, and regular folks who, from Jan. 1 to June 8, made 4,130 contributions totaling $5.6 million in a state that has no limits on individual spending.
July 1, 2015 |
In a ruling with wide implication for utilities and regulated industries, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked Obama administration rules aimed at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants, saying regulators failed to take cost into account. The court, in a 5-4 opinion, said the Environmental Protection Agency was obligated under the Clean Air Act to weigh the cost at the outset of efforts to cut emissions of mercury and other pollutants. "The agency must consider cost - including, most importantly, cost of compliance - before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary," the court said in its majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia.