Pa. Supreme Court returns to full panel of justices

    Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court will finally be up to its full complement of seven judges Tuesday with the swearing-in of Correale Stevens, plucked from Superior Court.

    Stevens, a Republican, was nominated by Gov. Tom Corbett to fill the seat vacated by former Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who was convicted on political corruption charges.

    All but one of the Supreme Court justices will attend the swearing-in ceremony. Stevens, who has served on the Superior Court since 1997, says the event promises to be quite different from his last oath of office.

    “When I was sworn in as Superior Court judge, I just went with one of my friends on the county court, and we went to a senior citizens center near where I live,” he recalled. “It was just us and the senior citizens and we just got sworn in with sandwiches and we played bingo with them.”

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    Stevens has also served as a state representative in Luzerne County and as a district attorney.

    His term ends in January 2016.

    His swearing-in will allay the concerns of those who didn’t like seeing a seat remain empty on the Supreme Court for over a year. Chief Justice Ron Castille said that arrangement allowed the possibility of split decisions, which he said offer no guidance.

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