Critics Charge Pennsylvania Courts Are Stuck in `Judicial Dark Ages' Elections of Justices Don't Result in the Best Getting Chosen, They Say

By David Rohde, | The Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 1993 | Go to article overview

Critics Charge Pennsylvania Courts Are Stuck in `Judicial Dark Ages' Elections of Justices Don't Result in the Best Getting Chosen, They Say


David Rohde,, The Christian Science Monitor


AS Pennsylvania voters prepare to elect one new state Supreme Court justice to a 10-year term and retain or reject another tomorrow, critics of the popularly elected and extremely powerful court are calling it "a national embarrassment" stuck in the "judicial dark ages."

Last week, Justice Rolf Larsen of the seven-member Supreme Court was indicted on felony charges of illegally using court employees to obtain prescription tranquilizers for his own use. Last November, Mr. Larsen accused court members of taking kickbacks, fixing court cases, taping telephone conversations, and claimed one of his fellow justices tried to run him down with a car.

Justice Nicholas Papadakos is up for retention and coming under fire for hiring his son as his $73,000-a-year law clerk and for voting to increase his own pension. Critics are calling Mr. Papadakos arrogant for not simply retiring. Even if he wins another 10-year term, the state constitution will force him to retire next year when he turns 70. Calls for reform

The problems of the court go far beyond the ideological battles that sometimes occur in the 39 states that elect or popularly retain state Supreme Court justices. Critics charge that the Pennsylvania court's rulings are frequently contradictory and in some cases openly political, fueling a decade-old movement to appoint judges instead of electing them.

"In Pennsylvania all it takes to be a judge is connections, money, and luck," said Lynn Marks, executive director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a nonpartisan group that wants judges appointed instead of elected as they have been since the 1850s.

"The election process doesn't necessarily give us the best people for the court. Nobody knows who they are voting for," said Ronald Castille, this year's Republican candidate for state Supreme Court justice and a former Philadelphia district attorney. "The whole process demeans an institution that should be beyond reproach," he said.

Other states have had difficulties with judicial elections. In 1990 elections, widely respected judges in both Washington State and Texas unexpectedly lost retention bids to candidates with with names similar to local or national celebrities.

"What do {voters} know about these people? The senator, the governor, they have some idea, but the judge - they don't know him at all," said Prof. Roy Schotland of the Georgetown University Law Center. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Critics Charge Pennsylvania Courts Are Stuck in `Judicial Dark Ages' Elections of Justices Don't Result in the Best Getting Chosen, They Say
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.