Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania State Capitol Supreme Court.jpg
Judges' seats in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's chambers in the Pennsylvania State Capitol
Established May 22, 1722
Jurisdiction Pennsylvania, United States
Location Harrisburg
Composition method Partisanly elected and retained
Authorized by Pennsylvania Constitution
Judge term length 10 years
Number of positions 7
Website Official site
Chief Justice
Currently Ronald D. Castille
Since January 7, 2008

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the court of last resort for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It meets in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.



The original Pennsylvania constitutions, drafted by William Penn, established a Provincial Court under the control of his British governors. The General Assembly, however, espoused the principle of separation of powers and formally called for a third branch of government starting with the 1701 Judiciary Bill. In 1722, the appointed British governor needed the House to raise revenues. House leaders agreed to raise taxes in return for an independent Supreme Court.

Predating the United States Supreme Court by 67 years, Pennsylvania's highest court was established by the General Assembly on May 22, 1722. Interpreting the Pennsylvania Constitution, it was the first independent Supreme Court in the United States with the power to declare laws made by an elected legislative body unconstitutional.

Composition and rules

It meets in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Supreme court consists of seven justices each elected to ten year terms. Supreme court judicial candidates may run on party tickets. The justice with the longest continuous service on the supreme court automatically becomes Chief Justice. Justices must step down from the Supreme Court when they reach the age of 70, although they may continue to serve part-time as "senior justices" on panels of the Commonwealth's lower appellate courts until they reach the age of 78, the age of mandatory retirement.[1]

Prior to 2002, judicial candidates in Pennsylvania were prohibited from expressing their views on disputed legal or political issues. But after a similar law in Minnesota was struck down as unconstitutional (Republican Party of Minnesota v. White), the Pennsylvania rules were amended and judicial candidates may now express political viewpoints as long as they do not “commit or appear to commit the candidate with respect to cases, controversies or issues that are likely to come before the court.” (PA Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7 (B)(1)(c))[2]

After the ten year term expires, a statewide YES/NO vote for retention is conducted. If the judge is retained, he/she serves another ten year term. If the judge is not retained, the governor, subject to the approval of the State Senate, appoints a temporary replacement until a special election can be held. As of 2005, only one judge has failed to win retention. Justice Russell M. Nigro received a majority of "NO" votes in the election of 2005 and was replaced by Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin, who was appointed by Governor Rendell in 2005.

Only one Supreme Court Justice, Rolf Larsen, has been removed from office by impeachment. In 1994, the State House of Representatives handed down articles of impeachment consisting of seven counts of misconduct. A majority of the State Senate voted against Larsen in five of the seven counts but only one charge garnered the two-thirds majority needed to convict.

Under the 1874 Constitution until the Pennsylvania state constitution of 1968, Supreme Court justices were elected to 21 year terms. At the time, it was the longest term of any elected office in the United States.[citation needed]

Supreme Court Justices

Mural on the wall of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's chambers in the Pennsylvania State Capitol

Current members

Name Born Elected Year of Next Retention Election Reaches Age 70 Prior Positions and Education

Ronald D. Castille (Chief Justice)

March 16, 1944 (1944-03-16) (age 67) in Miami, Florida 1993 (retained in 2003) 2013 March 16, 2014 Private Practice (1991–1993); District Attorney, Philadelphia County (1986–1991); Deputy District Attorney, Philadelphia County (1971–1985); J.D., University of Virginia School of Law (1971); B.S., Auburn University (1966).

Thomas G. Saylor

December 14, 1946 (1946-12-14) (age 64) in Somerset County, Pennsylvania 1997 (retained in 2007) None - final term December 12, 2016 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1993–1997); Private Practice (1987–1993); First Deputy Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1983–1987); Director, Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection (1982–1983); First Assistant District Attorney, Somerset County (1973–1976); Private Practice (1972–1982); J.D., Columbia Law School (1972); B.A., University of Virginia (1969).

J. Michael Eakin

November 18, 1948 (1948-11-18) (age 63) in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 2001 2011 November 18, 2018 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1995–2001); District Attorney, Cumberland County (1984–1995); Private Practice (1980–1989); Assistant District Attorney, Cumberland County (1975–1983); J.D., Dickinson School of Law (1975); B.A., Franklin & Marshall College (1970).

Max Baer

December 24, 1947 (1947-12-24) (age 63) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2003 2013 December 24, 2017 Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (1989–2003); Private Practice (1980–1989); Deputy Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1975–1979); J.D., Duquesne University School of Law (1975); B.A., University of Pittsburgh (1971).

Debra Todd

October 15, 1957 (1957-10-15) (age 54) in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania 2007 2017 October 15, 2027 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (2000–2007); Private Practice (1982–1999); J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1982); B.A., Chatham College (1979).

Seamus P. McCaffery

June 3, 1950 (1950-06-03) (age 61) in Belfast, Northern Ireland 2007 2017 June 3, 2020 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (2003–2008); Judge, Philadelphia Municipal Court (1993–2003); J.D., Temple University School of Law (1989); B.A., La Salle University (1977); Police Officer, Philadelphia Police Department (1970–1989).

Joan Orie Melvin

April 6, 1956 (1956-04-06) (age 55) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2009 2019 April 6, 2026 Judge, Superior Court of Pennsylvania (1998–2009); Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas (1990–1998); Magistrate and Chief Magistrate, Pittsburgh Municipal Courts (1985–1990); Private Practice (1981–1985); J.D., Duquesne University School of Law (1981); B.A., Notre Dame University (1978).

See also


  1. ^ "?". [dead link]
  2. ^ "Pennsylvania Code". 

External links

Coordinates: 40°15′51″N 76°53′01″W / 40.264260°N 76.883578°W / 40.264260; -76.883578

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Supreme Court of California — Seal of the Supreme Court of California Established 1849 Jurisdiction …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of Nevada — Jurisdiction United States …   Wikipedia

  • Superior Court of Pennsylvania — The Superior Court of Pennsylvania is the intermediate court of appeal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, between the trial court of general jurisdiction called the Court of Common Pleas and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Appeal to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania — The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania is one of two Pennsylvania intermediate appellate courts. The Commonwealth Court s headquarters is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania is the other intermediate appellate court in …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of Missouri — Missouri Supreme Court State Seal of Missouri Established 1841 Jurisdiction Missouri …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of Ohio — Ohio Supreme Court Seal of the Supreme Court of Ohio Established 1841 Jurisdiction O …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah's Witnesses — Internationally there have been numerous Supreme Court cases involving Jehovah s Witnesses. The cases revolve around three main subjects: *practice of their religion, *displays of patriotism and military service, and *blood transfusions. Jehovah… …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of Mississippi — Mississippi Supreme Court Established 1841 Jurisdiction Mississippi , United States …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia — West Virginia Supreme Court Seal of the West Virginia Supreme Court Established 1863; 1872 Jurisdiction West Virginia …   Wikipedia

  • Supreme Court of the United States — Cour suprême des États Unis  Pour les autres articles nationaux, voir Cour suprême. Bâtiment de la Cour suprême …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”