Primary day is less than a month away and races around the Commonwealth are heating up. One of the most significant races in state history takes place this year, the Supreme Court race. It’s expected to be the most expensive election in the court’s history and many are calling this election a “game changer”.
There are 12 candidates running for 3 open seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It’s the most vacancies in the court’s history and it comes after years of controversy. Most recently Justice Seamus McCaffrey resigned after admitting to forwarding pornographic emails. Before that, Former Justice Joan Orie Melvin was convicted of public corruption charges. She was found guilty of using state-paid staffers for political campaign work.
“The court is not corrupt, there are individuals who have made some mistakes I think and as we all know, judges must be above reproach,” said John Gedid.
John Gedid served on the Supreme Court rules committee and spent over a decade reviewing Justice’s decisions. He’s calling the 2015 election a blockbuster race.
“2 democrats, 2 republicans..depending on what happens in this election there will be a majority of one party or the other,” said Gedid.
12 candidates are running for 3 vacant seats. Gedid says this is unlike any other Supreme Court race in more than 200 years and without a doubt, it will be the most expensive.
Executive Director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Lynn Marks, says money will likely pour in for candidates after primary day.
“Unfortunately money fuels judicial races. Most people who run for judge aren’t household names,” said Marks.
But, Marks says judges are different than those holding other political offices. She says the problem is the people and groups who pay the big bucks.
“Money too often comes from lawyers and interest groups who care about the outcome of races. And yet when we go to court we want to have justice. We want to feel like that judge is fair and impartial and you don’t want to be thinking well gee I wonder if my opponent made a large contribution to the judge,” said Marks.
When Supreme Court judges get elected, they serve 10 year terms, so that’s another reason why it’s unusual to have so many positions up for grabs at the same time. An exact dollar amount of hot much has been spent on the race so far is not known.