Gov. Tom Corbett’s first judicial nominee is apparently a surprise to state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille.
Castille told the Patriot-News of Harrisburg that Corbett had mentioned nothing of his plans to appoint his former chief of staff, Bill Ward, to fill a vacancy on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Castille also suggested filling the vacancy is unnecessary because Allegheny County’s president judge told him her court’s caseload has declined.
Corbett says serving as a judge was a long-time goal for the 60-year-old Ward and that he’s happy to help his old friend achieve it.
But Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach tells the Patriot-News that nominating judges is about ensuring people have access to justice, not about cronyism or rewarding buddies.
Ward’s nomination will require confirmation by the state Senate.