Pa. voters will select Supreme Court justice, three appeals court judges – Pennsylvania Capital-Star

At the top of Tuesday’s ballot, voters will elect four statewide judges, including Pennsylvania’s next Supreme Court justice.

With decisions about next year’s presidential election, abortion and other issues with far-reaching consequences, this year’s campaign for 10-year terms on Pennsylvania appellate courts has attracted millions in outside spending. 

In the Supreme Court race, Judge Daniel McCaffery, a Democrat who sits on the Superior Court, is running against Montgomery County President Judge Carolyn Carluccio, the Republican.

Attorney Jill Beck and Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Timika Lane are the Democratic nominees for Superior Court. Attorney Maria C. Battista and Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court Judge Harry F. Smail are the Republican nominees.

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Matthew Wolf is the Democratic nominee for Commonwealth Court, and attorney Megan Martin is the Republican nominee.

The Supreme Court is Pennsylvania’s final judicial authority in all types of civil and criminal matters. Like its federal counterpart, however, it only takes a small fraction of the cases it is asked to review. 

That means that the Superior and Commonwealth courts’ decisions are often the final word.

Carluccio received the backing of conservative billionaire Jeff Yass in the form of $4.4 million worth of TV commercials, digital media and mailings purchased on behalf of her campaign. They have focused mainly on attacking McCaffery for his connection to the pornographic email scandal that forced his brother’s resignation from the Supreme Court in 2014.

McCaffery received two emails from his brother on a government account and told him to send them to his personal email instead, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time.

McCaffery’s campaign has been assisted by spending by outside groups, including Planned Parenthood Votes, which announced in September that it was spending seven figures on a campaign asserting that voters can’t trust Carluccio’s position on abortion.

In the ads, the group says Carluccio scrubbed anti-abortion language from her campaign website. Carluccio said it was removed as part of a redesign and that she would follow Pennsylvania’s law that allows abortion up to 24 weeks. 

Other outside groups spending on the Supreme Court race include the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. It announced last month it planned to make a “six-figure investment” in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court race, calling it an election that will have “long-term consequences, not just for the court, but for the state Legislature as well.”

Pennsylvanians for Judicial Fairness, a PAC funded largely by lawyers and labor unions, reported spending nearly $4 million between Sept. 19 and Oct. 23, with much of it going toward television advertising, according to the group’s latest finance report shared by its chairman, Philadelphia election lawyer Adam Bonin.

Some of the lower court candidates also have benefitted from outside spending. 

In addition to a $100,000 contribution to Martin, the Commonwealth Leaders Fund spent more than $573,000 on direct mail advertising for her campaign. The in-kind contributions from the Yass-backed committee and others bring Martin’s total contributions to just over $1 million. The fund also made a $50,000 contribution to Battista’s campaign.

This story will be updated throughout the day on Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find your polling place, click here. If you encounter difficulty voting or want to share your election day experience, email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Election Day 2023.”


Originally published at,by Peter Hall

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