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BREAKING: Justice Seamus McCaffery Resigns from PA Supreme Court

mccafferyState Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery will resign.

According to Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News, McCaffery will submit his resignation later today.

This development is the culmination of a tumultuous, month-long, drama-filled episode.

At the break of October it was revealed that Justice McCaffery was among those who exchanged pornographic emails with employees in the Attorney General’s office.

A few weeks later, McCaffery issued a scathing letter that attacked his long-time antagonist, Chief Justice Ron Castille. McCaffery insisted Castille was on an “egomaniacal mission” to bring him down.

Castille was given access to the emails by Attorney General Kathleen Kane after a spirited legal battle.

Then the story took a strange twist when Justice Michael Eakin accused McCaffery of threatening to release inappropriate emails involving Eakin unless Eakin convinced Castille to call off his crusade.

In the wake of all these events, McCaffery was suspended from the Court last week. In an extraordinary opinion, Chief Justice Castille went as far as to call McCaffery a “sociopath”.

Now, McCaffery has resigned and the storm, for the moment, has passed. Castille is also required to retire at the end of the year because of the Court’s age limit (he turned 70 earlier this year). What permanent damage this has done to the Court as an institution, however, is impossible to ascertain.

Update: The Judicial Conduct Board announced it has dropped its investigation.

“If the board were to continue its investigations and institute proceedings against Justice McCaffery in the Court of Judicial Discipline, and if it were to sustain its heavy burden of proof on any charge, the most serious sanction that could be imposed is removal from office and a bar to holding judicial office in the future,” the conduct board stated. “Since Justice McCaffery has retired and has agreed not to seek senior judge status and not to again seek elective judicial office, the board has concluded that it is in the best interest of the judiciary and the judicial system of the Commonwealth to dismiss its investigations into the matters specifically referred to in the Supreme Court’s now-vacated order of October 20, 2014.

“Accordingly, the Board will dismiss its investigations into these matters.”

29 Responses

  1. Robert
    0) Learn to post a link without breaking it up into pieces. I’ve already explained how to do this.

    1) The 1400 voters you claim in North Carolina would not be stopped by VoterID laws if they have photo ID like drivers license. I already explained this is a problem at the registration office checking citizenship. PhotoID’s don’t indicate citizenship. How thick are you?
    Strike 1.

    2) Did you even bother to read the article? I guess not. One voter (who was not 164 years old) reported that his birthdate was recorded/listed incorrectly. The year 1850 was a dummy value entered for records when a birthdate wasn’t available as a way to flag voters that needed to be contacted to get updated information. Some people, mostly women over 21, didn’t want their full birthdates available for privacy, as the voter records were public information.
    These aren’t dead people left on the rolls from the 1800’s, as you’ve implied. It’s old data from before computerization that they are cleaning up.
    But, again, not voter fraud.
    Strike 2.

    3) Rich Lowery is wrote an opinion piece that has been debunked elsewhere.
    He glosses over the cost of ID, which IS a poll tax. He also ignores that voters are failing to go to the polls because they don’t have the new forms of ID, by focusing on the ones who showed up had VoterID problems. So, he ignored an entire group of disenfranchised voters as well as voters who had valid ID but didn’t realize it.
    But, even the numbers who showed up with VoterID issues far exceed the number of cases of voter impersonation fraud (ie none).
    Strike 3.

    4) This is another scam by O’Keefe. He, and one of his cohorts, were actually told repeatedly by campaign staffers in Colorado that such practices were illegal and not to do them.
    But, his game is to:
    a) present the idea himself (so the idea isn’t generated by the groups)
    b) present the idea to as many people as he can until he finds some idiot who is convinced by his argument (or in some cases just pretending to agree with him because they don’t want to turn away a person they want to help with other stuff, or maybe want to date him)
    c) use third party groups that aren’t Dem groups nor directly affiliated with the campaigns. Basically, young people that he cons into staying something stupid.

    He never actually catches anyone following up on his suggestions, because other people coming into the loop would know better.
    This has nothing to do with VoterID either.

    Strike 4.

    5) This EXACT same thing happened in PA with votes for Obama being recorded for Romney. It was a problem with the touch screen not handling the full x or y range correct.
    This is a random problem with computerized systems, particularly touch screens, and there are equal examples of votes Dem-to-Rep and Rep-to-Dem across the country.

    And again… not VoterID problem.
    Strike 5

    6) First of all, you have to stop reading just the headlines, and read the articles. Second, Breitbart is not a valid news source.
    But, in the piece, it refers to an article that hasn’t even come out yet.
    It does NOT say that non-citizens cast the deciding votes (as YOU wrote in all caps).
    “Non-citizen votes, they say, could quite easily have been the reason for Franken’s win”

    This is based on an UNPROVEN assumption that non-citizens voted for Franken as well as another UNPROVEN estimate about the number of non-citizens that MAY have voted.
    Also, the authors point out: “Richman and Earnest add that voter ID is “strikingly ineffective” in deterring non-citizens from voting”

    Strike 6.

    7) I read Al Schmidt’s full report. When read in detail, it actually demonstrated a complete lack of voter fraud and just examples of simple clerical errors. The report was touted as showing voter fraud, but it didn’t show any. It was such an amateurish report that it wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. But, Al gave a press conference and was soon after appointed to the GOP controlled parking authority.
    Strike 7

    8) You really need to stop using Breitbart (and actually read the article first).
    This is an opinion piece that refers to a limited 2008 study that thought “only about 1.2 percent of registered voters had no photo ID”
    But, that belies the point. MANY of the voters in Philly have photo IDs. However, the PA law was constructed to invalidate many of those forms of ID for purposes of voting and would not allow the county board of elections to issue photo IDs that could be used solely for voting.

    So, again you miss the point by claiming that people have photo IDs so there isn’t a problem. But, the problem is that the voterID laws are constructed to ignore the types of photoIDs that poor people are less likely to have, like a drivers license, if they live in a city and use public transportation.
    When PA state dept ran the voter file against the driver license database, there were tens of thousands of cases of registered voters without drivers licenses (a disproportionally large percentage in Philly compared to the rest of the state).

    But again, the VoterID laws inhibit registered voters to go through additional NEW hurdles to vote, despite them having adequate identification for banking, employment, etc., and no cases of voter impersonation fraud. NONE.

    Strike 8.

    If you had made a 9th point, you could have struck out for an entire inning by yourself. All you’ve done is illustrate your illiteracy and lack of reading comprehension by misstating and misinterpreting every reference you made, all the while failing to show a single example of voter impersonation fraud.

    Bravo. A truly stunning example of blind ignorance and stupidity.

  2. @ DD: More….

    An ACRU (American Civil Rights Union) Report: The Truth About Voter ID

    No reform is more necessary for the integrity of the electoral process – and none has been subjected to more savage and disingenuous attacks — than voter ID laws. Of all these, the most outrageous is the charge that voter ID is the same as Jim Crow — the racist system that was used to disenfranchise Southern blacks for generations after Reconstruction.

  3. @ DD:

    As anticipated, you ignored the need to document your prior assertions and pursued the Dem talking-points on Voter-ID.

    Consider these data:

    1. over 1,400 registered voters on North Carolina’s voting rolls are likely not citizens of the United States

    109 illegal immigrants who have been shielded from deportation and allowed to obtain work permits and drivers licenses through President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, are included in the voting rolls. They are also ineligible to vote.

    illegal, non-citizen votes have swayed past elections for Democrats.


    2. 850 NYC voters over 164-years-old


    3. The number of voters getting locked out by ID laws is diminishingly small


    4. Dem GOTV Group Caught on Camera Endorsing Voter Fraud






    7. Philly election official details examples of voter fraud


    Note that I provide cites, whereas you provide only rhetoric; also note that your claim of “clerical error” [reminiscent of early IRS-scandal faux-rationalizations] is nowhere to be found in any of these articles.

    Either refute the data or admit wrongdoing [on top of the other errors you have sidestepped acknowledging].

  4. Robert-

    VoterID is only only able to deal with voter IMPERSONATION fraud. That is, someone other than the registered voter showing up and claiming to be that voter. Those cases do not exist.

    None of the “frauds” you listed apply.

    1) “illegals” voting is not a problem that requires a solution that disenfranchises 10 times a many legitimate voters by requiring new forms of ID that they don’t have and cost time and/or money to obtain as well as excess documentation.
    It is very difficult for many old widows to obtain birth certificates under their maiden names, especially if they’ve been married multiple times and moved states, especially when they are registered under their married name.

    2) Also, which “illegals” are you referring to? There are plenty of people who were brought here as children, who have drivers licenses and have registered to vote. VoterID wouldn’t stop a single one of them from voting. The problem with the so called “illegals” is that they were allowed to register without a verification of their citizenship.
    No one is arguing that non-citizens shouldn’t be purged from the roles. However, in some jurisdictions actual citizens are purged, so purging must be done carefully.

    VoterID limits the access of registered citizens to keep them from voting. BIG difference (and typical of your misstatement of the problem for your straw man arguments).

    3)Ann Coulter had overlapping registrations as well. And Rick Santorum is still registered in VERONA, PA. However, despite his dual registration, he hasn’t voted more than once, and may well be unaware of his dual registration. Also, there are plenty of people in the PA database with duplicate records, but they don’t vote more than once either.
    a) It’s not “voter fraud” if they don’t vote in more than one place.
    b) It’s not “voter fraud” if they are unaware of clerical errors by election boards that have failed to update their records
    c) VoterID wouldn’t stop either of any of these people from voting, since they are the people registered and can provide ID (like passport) that doesn’t contain current address.

    4) Dead people are NOT voting, nor are people voting as dead people. Every case that has come up, that I’ve seen, has turned out to be a clerical error where a family member voted and was given the voter card of the deceased by accident. No additional person voted or attempted to impersonate a dead person. The election official at the desk just handed the voter the wrong card. I’ve been offered my Dad’s and my brother’s card by mistake (though I caught it, not everybody does). VoterID wouldn’t help with this either, as I gave my name/address and they just grabbed the wrong card.

    5) Philly doesn’t have documented fraud (other than the strange case of Joe Cheesesteak). That problem is solved by removing the fictitious registration record in the first place.
    Every other example in the bogus report by GOP Philly commissioner was a clerical error and not any indication of a problem with impersonation fraud. And the ”

    6) Registrations of “Mickey Mouse” and such don’t constitute voter fraud either, as these were cases of workers being paid per registration form. The only ones “defrauded” were their employers who paid them, and wound up with registration forms that would be rejected and didn’t correspond a anyone who would show up and vote.

    So, without any cases of Voter Impersonation fraud, the only “epidemic” that VoterID proponents are trying to “cure” is black and poor people voting.

  5. @ DD:

    Due to your propensity to assert claims absent proof, inasmuch as I provided the relevant hyperlink, please demonstrate that I lifted your quote out of context; in the process, please provide the quote from “Bob” that you felt was racist.

    Accommodations have been made in the Voter-ID law to maximize [legitimate] voter-turnout [noting its constitutionality in other states] and, thus, inasmuch as the problem has been documented to exist [Illegals vote, NC has overlapping registrations from other states and dead-people having voted, Philly has had documented fraud, ACORN’s excess has been confirmed in multiple states], you should welcome efforts to ensure the ballot-boxes aren’t flooded by non-citizen ballots.

    Do not go “Tangential” [as is your tendency] by elaborating on known-arguments regarding Voter-ID instead of ‘fessing-up regarding your rhetorical-excess; the former won’t serve to progress the argument [absent an anticipated SCOTUS judgment, perhaps, reinforcing individual decisions] while the latter would allow you to clear-the-record [and, perhaps, prompt you to type a bit more carefully in the future].

  6. Robert-
    You took a statement out of context of the entire thread of discussions where I had previously established my precedents, antecedents and qualifying statements. I shouldn’t have to repeat every such statements in a thread of discussion, and you are being dishonest in pulling it out of context. But, that’s hardly a surprise, because that’s how you operate and avoid honest arguments.

    Thanks for proving me right by echoing the FALSE claim that VoterID is motivated by a desire to curb voter fraud. The TRUE purpose is to create a new type of poll tax and barrier for poor/minority voters. The proponents can’t even find enough cases of fraud to pass the laugh test, but there are hundreds (and thousands) of cases of voters denied the right to vote because they can’t obtain the specific forms of ID or deal with the burden of getting them, despite having valid ID for other daily purposes. The PA law tried to wipe out the voter registration card and current utility bills (with matching voter address) as legitimate forms of ID for voting.

    BTW, Rick Santorum is registered in both PA and VA, even though he moved several years ago and votes out of PA. Under the VoterID law (that was squashed), he could have used his passport to vote in PA.

    Given your claim that VoterID is about voter fraud, I have to re-think my position as to whether, ignorant as you are, if you are really that ignorant, or really do understand the racial implications of VoterID and are lying.

  7. @ DD:

    [Thanx for correcting my attribution to Queen Liz instead of Queen Vic, Arlen]

    Door #1: “I never said that ALL or ANY attacks on Obama/Holder were racists.”

    Door #2: “That you choose to willfully ignore that the attacks on Holder are racist is your problem.”

    Note that you didn’t type “some” or even “the majority of” these attacks were racist; you simply wrote “the”; therefore, you didn’t afford yourself ANY wiggle-room after you have been afforded ALL of the discretion.

    There is hope for you, noting how you phrased your “Voter-ID” counterattack [“You still won’t acknowledge that the VoterID laws are racist”] although, notwithstanding your typical-D appeal to “sensitivity,” the fact remains that efforts to combat voter-fraud are just that, and no more.

    Rather than issuing “LIAR!” accusations with-abandon, all you need do in this instance, is to admit to have engaged in a bit of hyperbole; thereafter, together, “we [will be able to] move on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” [last line of Gatsby].

  8. “You still won’t acknowledge that the VoterID laws are racist.”

    So all of Canada is racist now? France? etc…

  9. Simplicio-
    Thanks for digging up the quote, which if you could read, prove you wrong (and a liar). I didn’t say ALL attacks, just attacks. This is consistent with my position that the core/majority of the attacks are racially motivated.

    You are refusing to acknowledge there is ANY racial component to why Holder is being attacked. I’ve also stated, several times, that YOUR attacks on him are not racial (but rather based on your own partisanship against liberals). That alone is a counter-example to your claims that I’ve been absolute.

    You still won’t acknowledge that the VoterID laws are racist.

    While I don’t consider you a racist, I think you are incapable of seeing that the policies you support are racist. Rather, you are easily fooled by the straw-man arguments used to deny the racial components of the policies, attacks, laws, etc.

    Similarly, you are unable to see how the policies affect the poor. For practical purposes, you go along with the attitude: “Well, they should just stop being poor” as if it was a decision they made.

    You just have no empathy (which is a terrible trait to lack as a doctor).

  10. BTW, Queen Victoria uttered the “We are not amused” comment. Does anyone recall when Frank Rizzo ruined Castille’s run for Mayor of Philadlephia by uncovering a drunken shooting incident during the primary? The writer stated at the time that incident would end Castille’s political career. Rizzo died of a heart attack later that year and Castille went on to bigger and better things.

  11. There is a reason why, in chess, the king is never actually seized. It’s messy. McCaffery gets to keep his pension, and we are rid of his outsized ego and blowhard demeanor. I don’t know enough about his judicial competence to pass judgment on that, but as a person, he appears to be an ass. Ditto Castile, whose ego will cost Pennsylvania dearly when he has to retire after one year rather than having gone quietly last year.

  12. @ DD:

    You have again engaged in absolute self-parody; simply by following-backwards the hyperlinks I carefully preserved, yields, for example, a quote that directly contradicts your thinly-veiled efforts to engage in historical revisionism.

    “David Diano says [October 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm] ‘Robert- That you choose to willfully ignore that the attacks on Holder are racist is your problem’.”

    No qualifiers are in there, only an “absolute”; this compares and contrasts [dramatically and conclusively] with what you conjured in your latest posting of just a few hours ago.

    Your disingenuousness would be entertaining were it not wrapped in such egotistical rhetoric; you may wish to recall the “stop digging” admonition.

  13. Simplicio –
    Once again, you insert absolutes where I didn’t, thus misstating my positions.
    I never said that ALL or ANY attacks on Obama/Holder were racists. I did say that racism was the core behind MOST of the attacks. I also felt that anonymous “Bob” was being racist. In general, much of the anger/vehemence against Obama is racist in nature.

    I know far too many people who have been openly referring to Obama using the n-word since he ran in 2008. They don’t trust any black people and constantly refer to “all of them” as thieves or no good or other derogatory slurs. And that’s people from Philly. Down South, and other parts of the country, it’s a lot worse.

    You pretend you are “reality-based” and yet fail to see the racism around you. You don’t even get that these VoterID laws are racially motivated.

    You deny global warming. You deny the basics of economic recovery and the value of stimulus over austerity. You deny the benefits of raising the minimum wage, organized labor, expanded health coverage, etc.

    In short, you promote every failed policy and trumpet your march backwards into the past.

  14. @ DD:

    As a typical progressive-lib, you attempt to coerce the world to adopt your value judgments, rather than allow the data to drive decision-making; your conclusions are disproven when you cannot document your claims, as I repeatedly demonstrated while spoonfeeding [back] your lies [e.g., charge that any attack on BHO/AG-Holder is racist, which has sadly become the refrain of the Dems].

    What you refuse to grasp is the destructive nature of your posture for, when departing from reality-based thinking, you perpetuate divisiveness and hatred instead of prompting the intent to discern essential truths.

    Even “alanis morissette” [vide infra] saw the irony in your evasiveness and, as Queen Elizabeth would say, “We are not amused.”

  15. “My ‘entertainment’ is to demonstrate how foolish your positions are.”

    Ironic don’t you think?

  16. Simplicio –
    Arguing with you is like arguing with someone who denies evolution. No amount of science, fact or reason can penetrate your brain to dispel your fundamental misunderstandings of basic fabric of existence.

    I do take the issues seriously, and I argue them seriously, but I don’t take you seriously. You fail to grasp that. I don’t have the slightest hope of convincing you of the error of your ways and reasoning. My “entertainment” is to demonstrate how foolish your positions are.

  17. @ DD:

    Rather than defending prior distilled assertions, you repackage partisan attacks; some people take seriously these concerns, contrasting with your focus upon pursuit of self-entertainment.

  18. Pennsylvania experimented with merit selection in the 19th century and it did not work out.I met both Darnell Jones and McCaffery back in 2007, Jones seemed to be reserved and McCaffery was flamboyant and probably gained some votes that day. McCafferty had the luxury of resigning, regular front line Commonwealth employees would have been fired.

  19. Robert-
    Declaring yourself the winner after you lose and argument doesn’t make you the winner. Neither does reposting links to points/stories/article that I’ve already debunked when I don’t care to continue the discussion in dead or unrelated threads.

    The bottom line is that Corbett and his right-wing policies of looking the other way for polluters, fighting minimum wage increases, fighting healthcare, fighting women’s health choices, tax-breaks for corporations, privatization, attacks on teachers, education, unions and voter rights have ALL led Pennsylvania to the bottom.

    The kind of right-wing policies that you and your ilk advocate are proven failures and damaging to our economy and our democracy. Sadly, Pennsylvania had to be a testing ground for these failures.

    Fortunately, Corbett will soon be gone and we can start to repair the damage.

    As for Seamus… he seems to have landed on his feet (assuming he isn’t prosecuted on the non-porn issues).

    Castille is going out as a petty and unprofessional hack of a jurist. (not a heck of a jurist)

  20. I only wish McCaffery would have waited until Wolf takes office. Now we have to with a Corbett appointed Justice. Just what PA needs, a friggin conservative on the bench.

  21. According to the TV news, by resigning in this way, McCaffery gets to keep his pension.

    I hope McCaffery lives long enough to spit on Castille’s grave.

  22. @ “Unsanctioned R”:

    First, whenever Colin Hanna “speaks,” y’all should listen [recalling the ad from years ago promoting “Dreyfus”].

    Second, DD’s judgment has again been disproven, c/w the conclusion drawn on a prior page [“Your self-marginalization-process is now complete, and your credibility is in ruins.”] after he was unable to corroborate his wild claims [on that page and preceding ones that were carefully provided their own hyperlinks]; he had been forced into wagging a white-flag [“I only respond for entertainment purposes and amusement”] after he “both totally-ignored and partially-addressed distilled challenges.”

    McCaffery probably won’t be heard-from, anymore; one would hope that DD would demonstrate a comparable level of self-recognition and act similarly…or post more responsibly.

  23. I just hope Castille outlives the statute of limitations for libel so that Dr.S. can pounce on DD that day.

  24. “…the board has concluded that it is in the best interest of the judiciary and the judicial system of the Commonwealth to dismiss its investigations…”

    So does this mean they’re not going to look into Eakin’s emails?

  25. “Merit selection” always sounds so good — who could possibly be against merit? — until you realize that “merit selection” actually means “machine selection,” as in “political machine.”

  26. Meanwhile, Darnell Jones, who could have been a Supreme Court justice in place of McCaffery if the state Democratic Party had any sense of decency back in 2007, sits as a highly respected Federal District Judge.

  27. Right now, Ron Castille is thinking, “There is no hunting like the hunting of a preening douche bag named Seamus.”

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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