Pa. Supreme Court chief seeks clemency on budget cuts

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille is asking Pennsylvania lawmakers to negotiate kinder budget cuts, a mere month after his bench rejected a legislative redistricting plan.

    The judiciary branch is in a familiar situation — lots of efforts to save money, but still facing some painful reductions in state funding.

    Castille finds himself in a bit of an unenviable position this year.

    He’s asking state lawmakers to lend a sympathetic ear after he voted to toss out the legislative redistricting plan, throwing a wrench in this year’s elections.

    But Castille says he doesn’t expect any budgetary retaliation from state lawmakers feeling jilted.

    “I don’t think that’s going to happen. I hope we’re more statesmanlike. We did our job,” Castille said. “If you look at the opinion itself, it’s six justices agreed with the opinion, just that two of them thought that it hadn’t — shouldn’t apply in 2011.”

    Castille was speaking up for two programs in particular Thursday.

    He says the governor’s proposed 10 percent cut to the state’s legal aid system is too drastic.

    He also warned that the Judicial Conduct Board is expected to run out of money next month.

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