Supreme Court Candidate: Dwayne Woodruff
Judge Dwayne Woodruff was endorsed by the Democratic Party for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. PoliticsPA sat down with him to see why he is running and what he learned from his 2015 bid.
“I think the issues that are going on in our country and particularly in our state call for strong leadership,” Woodruff said.
“The things that I believe in regard to women’s rights and civil rights and all those things that are coming into question now and it is something that the judicial system can help resolve and protect,” Woodruff said.
“I believe that the judiciary system is that line of defense to make sure that our rights are protected and the Constitution is followed as well.”
Woodruff is a former Pittsburgh Steeler, who attained his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law during his time with the team. Woodruff is currently a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.
He ran for the Supreme Court in 2015 without the endorsement of the party. He lost in the six-candidate-primary to eventual Justices David Wecht, Christine Donahue, and Kevin Dougherty – who went on to win the general election.
Woodruff believes he learned important lessons about running for the court in that election.
“I have revamped my team, I had a great team last time and we have additions this time. I am working even harder this time, and I got out early into the race,” he said. “I learned I have to pay more attention to the resources we have and how we allocate them.”
Woodruff says that his record speaks for itself as the election moves forward.
“My life is an open book. I encourage people to go online and learn about my qualifications,” he said.
Woodruff is the first African-American endorsed by the Democratic Party for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He would be the second African-American to serve on the bench, Juanita Kidd Stout was appointed to the court by Governor Bob Casey in 1988.
Correction: Pennsylvania has had three minority Supreme Court Justices, Justices Robert N. C. Nix Jr., Cynthia Baldwin, and Juanita Kidd Stout. All three were originally appointed, Nix won a full term the year after he was appointed.
“We have the oldest Supreme Court in the country, over 300-plus years and we have had one minority judge on the bench, I think it is about time that our Supreme Court is inclusive, is diverse as well.”