'SISTER' ON THE BENCH; the Daughter of a Coal Miner Was Sworn in to a Seat on Pennsylvania's Highest Court by the Daughter of a Steelworker Inside Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club on Friday, Then Called upon Her Political Supporters to Elevate More Women and Minorities to the Bench. [Derived Headline]

By Santoni, Matthew | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 8, 2016 | Go to article overview

'SISTER' ON THE BENCH; the Daughter of a Coal Miner Was Sworn in to a Seat on Pennsylvania's Highest Court by the Daughter of a Steelworker Inside Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club on Friday, Then Called upon Her Political Supporters to Elevate More Women and Minorities to the Bench. [Derived Headline]


Santoni, Matthew, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


The daughter of a coal miner was sworn in to a seat on Pennsylvania's highest court by the daughter of a steelworker inside Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club on Friday, then called upon her political supporters to elevate more women and minorities to the bench.

Justice Christine Donohue, last of the three new Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices to be sworn in, had her oath of office administered by Justice Debra Todd, the steelworker's daughter who said she'd grown accustomed to being the only woman on the bench.

"For a long time, when someone in the street yelled out, 'Madam Justice! Madam Justice!' I knew they were talking to me. Now, I won't know," said Todd, a former Superior Court judge and resident of Cranberry. "It is wonderful to have a sister on the court."

After Todd swore her in, Donohue, of Point Breeze said she hopes the elected Pennsylvania judiciary will someday become more diverse at all levels.

"The political parties of Pennsylvania have an obligation to endorse and support women and people of color so that this bench, and all benches of justice in this commonwealth, reflect the population of this commonwealth," she said.

According to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, women made up two-thirds of the Superior Court and 28 percent of the Common Pleas judges statewide in 2011, the most recent year the commission collected data. Philadelphia had 42 women on its Court of Common Pleas that year, making up nearly half the bench; and Allegheny County had 13, or 31 percent; but 28 other counties had no female Common Pleas judges at all.

Neither the Bar Association nor the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts kept numbers on minority members of the bench. …

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'SISTER' ON THE BENCH; the Daughter of a Coal Miner Was Sworn in to a Seat on Pennsylvania's Highest Court by the Daughter of a Steelworker Inside Pittsburgh's Duquesne Club on Friday, Then Called upon Her Political Supporters to Elevate More Women and Minorities to the Bench. [Derived Headline]
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