State Supreme Court Candidates Graded on Ideological Scale

Crowdpac-Supreme CourtThe new website Crowdpac is scoring seven of the commonwealth’s State Supreme Court candidates by ideology.

Yesterday, we described the scores of the Philly Mayoral candidates. As a reminder, each person is graded on a scale from 10L (most liberal) to 10C (most conservative).

The scores are compiled through examining the sources of money the candidate has received, the words the candidate has used and the votes the candidates have taken.

One important caveat: Three people that will be appearing on next Tuesday’s ballot (Kevin Dougherty, John Foradora, Michael George) are not included because Crowdpac didn’t have enough data on their donations to calculate a score.

GOP Primary

The most intriguing finding concerning the GOP candidates is that one of them, specifically incumbent Supreme Court Justice Correale Stevens, lands (just barely) on the liberal side of the spectrum. Stevens receives a score of 0.6L.

In theory, this could help Justice Stevens in a general election. After all, most voters would probably want a sitting Justice to be as close to the ideological center as possible. Unfortunately for him, though, Republican voters are likely to want a conservative as their party’s nominee.

Next are Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen and Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey, who both scored 3.7C. Superior Court Judge Judy Olson finished just ahead of them with 3.8C.

Montour County District Attorney scored the highest conservative rating, coming away with a 5.6C.

The PA GOP formally endorsed George, Olson and Covey back in January.

Democratic Primary

Meanwhile, over in the Democratic primary Superior Court Judge David Wecht stands at 3.4L.

His fellow Superior Court colleagues Christine Donohue and Anne Lazarus scored a 3.9L and 4.9L respectively.

Finally, Common Court Pleas Judge (and ex-Pittsburgh Steeler) received a 7.0L and wins the title of most liberal candidate in the field.

The PA Democratic Party is backing Kevin Dougherty and David Wecht. No other candidate received the requisite two-thirds threshold though Donohue ultimately finished third.

May 7th, 2015 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 20 Comments

20 thoughts on “State Supreme Court Candidates Graded on Ideological Scale”

  1. JayT says:

    If Ronald Reagan were running against Hillary but could only serve two years, BOB GUZZARDI, you’d go with Hillary? In this case, you’d go with Warren over Cheryl Allen’s 25 years experience — and proven record of Constitutional back bone? What in God’s name does age have to do with justice? If you’re looking to give the Supreme Court to Republicans, you’re a nut. I don’t want justice in theirs or the Democrat’s hands. Justice is a light of truth — not a political trophy. Get real.

  2. Bill says:

    Guzzardi – Willy, justofer, and planit are one in the same. You are responding to Robert Buehner Jr.,the former DA in Montour County. Buehner is mad because Warren did not keep his clueless secretary on at the office when she was elected. Since that time he has had a personal vendetta against her. He also comments anonymously in local newspapers. This guy has documented mental health issues. He is extremely passive aggressive. He has done this to others too. His antics are well known in the community and he has zero credibility.

  3. Journalism says:

    Your article is bad and you should feel bad.

  4. bobguzzardi says:

    Experience is good; a fresh perspective is good, too.

    Both Republican Justice Joan Orie Melvin and Democratic Judge Seamus McCaffery had extensive judicial experience and both resigned in disgrace.

    Rebecca Warren is the only candidate elected to a non-judicial office. Elections to non-judicial offices are qualitatively different than non-judicial offices like District Attorney.
    Rebecca Warren is, also, independent of the party and independent of trial lawyers and unions and other interests.

    Being a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice is not rocket science; a Justice needs an understanding not only of black letter law but of how those laws affect real people in real life. Some things are not learned in the quiet and pristine and highly controlled environment of a courtroom.

    Experience is not always the best predictor; sometimes it takes a fresh perspective.

    I would, also, submit that Kathleen Kane’s troubles do not arise from lack of experience but from arrogance and vindictiveness toward those who disagreed with her.

  5. Willy from Danville says:

    Rebecca Warren has no experience to even be considered for the PA Supreme Court…she has never argued a case in front of that court….she has had a total of FOUR jury trials in her four years as DA….that’s it…She won her election because of the endorsement of the previous DA and ran against a person who moved into Montour County one year before…She is the next Katherine Kane….Warren could not find the PA Supreme Court if she had a map and a GPS system.

  6. Thom says:

    Bottom line is experience. Look what happened in AG election.

  7. Omar'sMommy says:

    Judge Woodruff has my vote. He is the most reasonable and moderate of all of these candidates. He has issued numerous public statements saying that he will uphold the law on issues of marriage equality and pro-choice. Not sure Stats is following the race closely. Wecht is a pompous tool who has lined his campaign pockets with the cash of his cronies.

  8. Omar'sMommy says:

    Judge Woodruff is the most reasonable and moderate of all of these candidates. He has issued numerous public statements saying that he will uphold the law on issues of marriage equality and pro-choice. Not sure Stats is following the race closely. Wecht is a pompous tool who has lined his campaign pockets with the cash of his cronies.

  9. cannot says:

    This is a throw away article. Not based on fact but fantasy. A comment from Bruce Ledewitz or Lynn Marks would make this article complete! Please, better journalism is needed!

  10. justofer says:

    Sarahj–no one said anything about hatred, only you. Look at yourself before pointing the finger at others. Do not judge lest you be judged.

  11. Sarahj says:

    Justofer, you’re missing the point. Her motivation for running is to honor her beloved ones. She is doing it for the right reason. Others are in it for all the wrong reasons. Her story is compelling and when you hear her speak, it is genuine, unlike so many “Politicians.” She is winning over lots of voters….including me. She might not win a seat on the Supreme Court in November, but she is doing one heck of a job and has gained the respect and support of many. You should channel your hatred in other ways and ask the Good Lord for guidance….you apparently need it.

  12. justofer says:

    Warren’s story about her deceased family members is all she has going for her. Her dearly departeds do not qualify her to be a judge. I keep pictures of dead family members too. Not too unusual. Just a sob story to cover up her lack of experience.

  13. planit says:

    Bobguzzardi: The Supreme Court is no place for Warren to get her feet wet. How about a nice transition to the trial court in her tiny county of Montour. Too far reaching for me. Another Kathy Kane scenario–Youth + no experience=disaster.

  14. ABCDEF says:

    And how is there not enough info on the donations of the missing candidates?? All of the donor data is posted online. This is just dumb.

  15. ABCDEF says:

    This is stupid and inaccurate. What is it based on?? I know for a fact that Woodruff is not the most liberal. And where are the other candidates– why are they not included?

  16. Carl says:

    I agree with Guzzardi…… age is an issue for Stevens and Allen. Covey should have withdrawn months ago. George, Olson, and Warren are the best Republican candidates.

  17. Micah Mahjoubian says:

    Kevin Dougherty is running for Supreme Court, not John Doughety.

  18. bobguzzardi says:

    Thanks this is most helpful. I am supporting Montour County DA Rebecca Warren; she is NOT endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican Party nor by the liberal Pennsylvania Bar Association. DA Warren won her election with 78% of the vote in Montour County where the registration is 50-50. She keeps a picture of her murdered father and brother on her desk.

    Age is another issue in this race. Correale Stevens will be 70 on Oct 6th 2016 and Cheryl Allen will be 70 on December 16, 2017.

    Although there is a ballot initiative to extend age to 75, neither Stevens nor Allen can, legally, Constitutionally, fill the entire term. Voters will not get whom they are voting for but for an unknown and unnamed successor as well.

  19. Stats McGee says:

    Judge Woodruff may be liberal but you wouldn’t know by his refusal to participate in LGBT and pro-choice organization endorsement processes. He has avoided taking positions on those issues among others.

    While others talk a good game, Judges Donohue and Wecht have proven to be champions of 4th Amendment rights, LGBT rights and labor rights in their published decisions on the Superior Court..

  20. Calvin, Sr. says:

    Difficult to believe that Judge Woodruff is more liberal than the other Democrat candidates. He seems to be much more toward the moderate side, and reasonable.

Comments are closed.