Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has convened an advisory commission to help him screen and select qualified appellate judges. Now there are complaints from state Senate Republicans about the role of the advisory group, although any interim appointee would require a confirmation vote from two-thirds of the Senate.
“The governor certainly has every right to review and to do background checks, and he should, on any nominees that we may submit to him,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ”But I’m not going to have people go through a panel of his choosing to let them decide whether people are qualified or not.”
A spokesman for Wolf said, “The role of the commission is to present to the governor qualified individuals, nothing more and nothing less, for vacancies.” He added, “The governor will still work with the Senate to get its advice and consent on his nominees, as is explicitly laid out in the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
Included among the vacancies is one on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently created by the resignation of Justice Michael Eakin in an email scandal. Senate GOP leaders said they think all but one member of the 11-member commission to be Democrats. The newspaper neither confirmed nor invalidated that claim. Meanwhile, on another front, The Scranton Times-Tribune reported, “Judges’ retirement age on primary ballot.”