After months of vacancy, all seven seats on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will finally be filled.
The state Senate unanimously confirmed Superior Court Judge Correale Stevens to replace Joan Orie Melvin, who resigned her seat following being found guilty of misusing state resources to campaign for her sister.
Perhaps the strongest effect of the confirmation is the addition of a seventh, tie-breaking vote to the Supreme Court in the case of a 3-3 ruling.
Chief Justice Ron Castille released a statement commending Stevens’ confirmation.
“He brings a wealth of experience from the executive and legislative branches and from his recent service as president judge of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court,” Castille said according to the Harrisburg Patriot News. “The transition to the Supreme Court will be difficult because it is a different court than the one he has been serving and the learning curve will be long and steep. But I know Judge Stevens will approach his new assignment with the same commitment and determination that he has brought to all of his professional challenges.”
The Associated Press reported last month that Corbett had chosen Stevens, 66, to fill the vacancy created by Melvin’s resignation.
First elected to the Superior Court in 1997, he was retained on that court in 2007. Prior to serving as a judge, Stevens represented parts of Luzerne County in Northeast Pa. as a state representative.
Stevens is expected to be formally sworn in as a Justice sometime later this month.
He joins the court at an interesting time. As Philadelphia Magazine describes in a lengthy report, Castille and fellow Justice Seamus McCaffery are locked in epic battle.