Three candidates are vying for the Republican nomination to fill Pennsylvania’s one open Supreme Court seat, while the Democratic race is uncontested.
Of the three candidates, Judge Joan Orie Melvin received the Republican Party’s official endorsement. Orie Melvin has served on Superior Court for 11 years, and was a Pittsburgh city and Allegheny County judge before that. She says she’s a strict constructionist.
"Judges must be accountable to the Constitution and to the rule of law. That’s not with regard to sympathy and background. It’s putting them aside. Justice is blind."
Judge Cheryl Allen was elected to Superior Court in 2007, and also spent time as an Allegheny County Judge. She says her greatest asset is her independence.
"And I’ve never been a judge who was just content to go along for the sake of getting along. I’m not afraid to rock the boat."
The third candidate comes from Philadelphia County. Paul Panepinto’s been a judge there since 1991, and ran for Supreme Court in 2007. He says he’d be a proactive administrator.
"You can’t wait until a problem happens. You need to reach out to the courthouses. You need to reach out to the public and say, how is the system working for you and your county? How can it be improved? We’re a unified court system. We want to make it work for everybody, but we want to make it work in a more consistent way."
The Republican winner will face Democrat Jack Panella in the general election.