What’s a voter to do when it comes to picking judicial candidates?

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 (Clockwise from top left) Cheryl Lynn Allen (R), Dwayne Woodruff (D), David Wecht (D), Kevin Dougherty (D), Correale Stevens (R), Anne Lazarus (D) (Images courtesy of Committee of 70)

(Clockwise from top left) Cheryl Lynn Allen (R), Dwayne Woodruff (D), David Wecht (D), Kevin Dougherty (D), Correale Stevens (R), Anne Lazarus (D) (Images courtesy of Committee of 70)

This season it’s particularly important to pay attention to the judicial candidates that will be on the ballot next week.  

In Pennsylvania, we will be electing not one, not two, but three new justices to the State Supreme Court.  It’s nearly impossible to get a handle on all of the judicial candidates on the ballot, so we spoke with Hank Grezlak, the Associate Publisher and Regional Editor-in-Chief for the Legal Intelligencer.

Check out our Pocket Voters Guide here.

Dave D.: There are only seven justices on the State Supreme Court.  Why are we picking three this year?

Hank G.: We’re picking three because we’ve lost two to scandal and we’ve lost one to retirement.

Dave D.: What are the issues that this court is going to be addressing?

Hank G.: They work on meat and potato issues all the time.  Congressional redistricting.  Until the federal court stepped in and overruled the Defense of Marriage Act, that was headed to the State Supreme Court.  Product liability.  When a product goes bad or defective or is alleged to be defective, it can affect a lot of people, mass cases.  The court essentially wiped the slate clean last year and reset the standards.  Now, why does that matter?  Well it matters because it could more plaintiff friendly or more defense friendly depending on how the court rules.

Dave D.: Where should voters turn for information [on the candidates]?

Hank G.: I think the first thing voters should do is look at both the Pennsylvania Bar Association and their local bar associations.  Most bar associations do some form of judicial evaluations commissions.  And there’s usually a lot of fairly good information for the average voter to sort of educate yourself on these people.

Click the link above to hear the full interview.

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