Editorial Board

Absence of Seventh Justice Impairs Court's Ability to Act

, The Legal Intelligencer


The suspension of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin earlier this year has left the court divided equally with three Democrats and three Republicans, creating the possibility of 3-3 split decisions and default affirmation of appellate court rulings. As a result, the first-level appellate courts in Pennsylvania — the Superior and Commonwealth courts — may be the last stop in the state judicial process. This is madness. Members of the appellate bar and law professors agree that the votes will effectively neutralize the Supreme Court in many cases and leave in place rulings that litigants believe are dubious at best.

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