Voters in the May 17 primary will choose their parties’ nominees for the state’s two intermediate appellate courts, Superior Court and Commonwealth Court. But only Republicans have a contested race for the Superior bench. The winner will face the sole Democratic candidate, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David N. Wecht, in the fall when one seat will be at stake.
The Superior Court has a heavy workload, reviewing most of the civil and criminal cases appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in the state’s 67 counties. Although its judgments can be appealed to the Supreme Court, the Superior Court has the last word in most cases. Its 15 judges serve 10-year terms.
Two Republican candidates are vying for the party nomination, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Paula Patrick, 43, and Victor P. Stabile, 53, a civil litigator from Middlesex Township, Cumberland County. Both are rated recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Judge Patrick, who has been on the bench for eight years, ran unsuccessfully for Superior Court two years ago — but as a Democrat, her lifelong political affiliation. This switch in party could pose a problem in November if she were to try to win over middle-of-the-road Democratic voters, especially as she explains her decision to change parties in strongly conservative terms — due to her views on abortion (she’s opposed), “biblical principles” and a need to “keep government out of our lives.”
Mr. Stabile, who manages his law firm’s Harrisburg office, is a Republican of long standing and the state GOP committee’s endorsed candidate. While he is not a judge, he was a former state attorney who defended state agencies in trial and appellate courts. While he is a former county Republican chairman, his comments during an interview with editorial writers were not ideologically driven compared to his opponent’s. The Post-Gazette prefers that judges leave their politics at the door.
As the bar association noted, his writing skills are strong and he has solid experience handling cases before appellate courts. He also has an exemplary record of pro bono service and has served his township as a member of its board of supervisors. The Post-Gazette endorses Victor P. Stabile for the Republican nomination for Superior Court.
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11121/1142980-192.stm