The election of a new Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge comes Tuesday. The sole statewide election this year has been somewhat quiet but that doesn’t detract from its importance. Superior Court is the source of all appeals from county courts not involving civil and criminal trials. Government suits and workmans compensation cases go to Commonwealth Court. Since so few cases are accepted by the state Supreme Court who we choose to hear these appeals on Superior Court is crucial. We’ve had too much judicial corruption in our Commonwealth not to take these elections lightly.
That is why I endorse Democrat Jack McVay for Superior Court. His opponent Vic Stabile is a Republican Party hack. I’ve always had an aversion to Party hacks regardless of their affiliation.
I had a long conversation with McVay recently regarding the election of judges versus merit selection. I have n’t taken a position on the issue because I see advantages and disadvantages to both. Election of judges can create obligations to those who heavily support a campaign financially. This can lead to corruption. On the other hand I’ve spoken to appellate judges who greatly appreciated being able to travel Pennsylvania and talk with voters and the public. This personalization of the Judiciary is important.
Merit selection of judges also has a history of corruption. You risk cronyism and incompetent judges beholden to the politicians who seat them. The possibility of minority judges is slim to none in merit selection.
My solution would be to select judges based on a bipartisan, non political commission. Then put them to a vote by the public.
It was a pretty progressive primary election in Pennsylvania yesterday. Bill Peduto finally will become Mayor of Pittsburgh on his third run at the office. Eric Papenfuse, owner of the very progressive Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg will become that troubled city’s next Mayor (these are heavily Democratic cities in which the primary is, essentially, the election) replacing the controversial and polarizing Linda Thompson.
Jack McVay showed once again how worthless the Pennsylvania Democratic Party’s endorsement is as he beat Joe Waters. Bob Brady once again failed to turn out the vote in Philadelphia. His “vaunted” and corrupt machine only seems to work in presidential election years and is toothless in all others.
My friend Liz Randol lost in the Scranton’s Mayoral race and Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan will be the Democratic nominee for Northampton County Executive. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is unopposed for re-election by either Party this year.
How did your local elections play out?
Tomorrow is primary election day and most races are for local and county offices.
In the primary for Superior Court Judge I endorse Jack McVay. At the last Democratic State Committee meeting Judge Joe Waters smeared his then primary opponent directly to my face. Guilt by association can work two ways, something a Philadelphia Judge a week after nine Philly Traffic Court Judges were indicted for corruption should have been more considerate of. Just because some of 600 attorneys at a large law firm represented clients against organized labor did not mean his opponent, managed by a state AFL-CIO leader, was anti-labor. Using guilt by association would have been bad enough coming from his campaign staff but coming directly from the Judge told me some very negative things about Judge Waters’ character. Please do not vote for him.
In the Pittsburgh Mayoral race I endorse progressive Bill Peduto. I’ve always like Jack Wagner but I could never vote for someone who is anti-choice.
In the hotly contested Philadelphia City Controller’s contest progressive reform candidate Brett Mandel. The corrupt Philly political machine led by Bob Brady needs to be squelched.
In the Northampton County Executive race I support Lamont McClure who was a steadfast supporter of Democratic Talk Radio when we were on the air in Bethlehem. Mayor John Callahan wouldn’t even appear on our show even though we broadcasted just a block from his office.
In Berks County I endorse M. Theresa Johnson for Common Pleas Court Judge. No other candidate meets my criteria for support.