Advertisement

Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Dead At 74

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Tragic news has hit the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and its Chief Justice Max Baer has died at the age of 74.

“This is a tremendous loss for the Court and all of Pennsylvania,” new Chief Justice Debra Todd said, Fox News reported.

“Pennsylvania has lost a jurist who served the Court and the citizens of the Commonwealth with distinction,” she said. “Chief Justice Baer was an influential and intellectual jurist whose unwavering focus was on administering fair and balanced justice.”

Advertisement

“He was a tireless champion for children, devoted to protecting and providing for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens,” she said.

“His distinguished service and commitment to justice and fairness spanned his decades on the bench – first as a family court judge in Allegheny County and eventually as administrative judge in family court before being elected to serve on the Supreme Court,” she said. “On behalf of the Court, we offer our deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues of Chief Justice Baer.”

Baer was first elected to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2003 and was sworn in as chief justice in 2021 after a lengthy career in law, according to local news outlet Post Gazette.

The justice was set to retire at the end of the year at the age of 75, which is the court’s mandatory age retirement.

The Pittsburgh native reportedly graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971 before obtaining his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 1975.

Baer also served as deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania from 1975 to 1980.

Pennsylvania was not the only swing state with major court news.

Advertisement

Georgia’s highest court blasted local officials in Douglas County over a race for chief magistrate judge.

Justice Charles J. Bethel on Tuesday called out the Douglas County government for “playing games with the process of qualifying candidates for office,” while also overturning a lower court judge’s decision regarding the removal of a Democratic candidate from the ballot.

Bethel made his remarks during oral arguments by attorney Jonathan M. Nussbaum, who is representing the county Board of Elections and Registration and county Elections Director Milton Kidd “in a lawsuit over whether Democrat Ryan Williams was improperly placed on the November ballot,” the Longview News Journal reported.

“It’s remarkable to me that the government is playing games, frankly — and I’m not saying you, counsel, understand,” Bethel told Nussbaum. “But the government you represent is playing games with the process of qualifying candidates for office in a democratic society. That’s just staggering to me that we’re sitting here saying, ‘Well, you meet these qualifications, and these qualifications over here, they’re only process qualifications.’ That’s hard for me to wrap my mind around.”

Advertisement

The outlet noted further:

The high court agreed to hear the appeal by local attorney Scott Camp, who argues that Douglas County Chief Judge William H. “Beau” McClain erred when he ruled in July he didn’t have authority under state law cited by Camp (OCGA 21-2-6) to remove Williams as a candidate for chief magistrate from the November ballot.

While Judge McClain found that he couldn’t remove Williams from the ballot, he also found that the process by which Kidd, the elections board and local Democratic Party put Williams on the ballot outside of the qualifying period after another Democrat was disqualified to be in violation of state law and “disreputable.”

Advertisement

Williams is running against Camp’s wife, Chief Magistrate Judge Susan S. Camp, who was first elected in 1998 and is the lone Republican still holding a countywide office.

Camp asked the state Supreme Court to rule that McClain does have the authority, under OCGA 21-2-6, to take Williams off the ballot while also remanding the case back to the superior court. The outlet noted that a ruling in Camp’s favor would essentially give Judge Camp another four years in office.

“Much of the hearing Tuesday centered around whether a candidate’s ‘qualifications’ referenced in OCGA 21-2-6 — which can be challenged per the statute — entail only certain substantive things that a candidate must have, such as being 25 years old and a member of the state bar, or whether those qualifications also include the ‘process qualifications’ Justice Bethel referenced in his rebuke,” the outlet reported.

Advertisement

Related Articles

Send this to a friend