Clark Tosses Hat into Commonwealth Court Race


Former Pittsburgh Municipal Court Judge Irene Clark decided to toss her hat into the race for Commonwealth Court on the Democratic ticket.  

Clark served as a Municipal Court Judge in Pittsburgh for ten years before returning to private practice focusing on helping municipalities and organizations revitalize communities.  

“During those 10 years, I developed skills critical to being a good judge including temperament, fairness, the ability to listen and make important decisions in a timely manner and an unfailing dedication to administrative matters that improve and assure the integrity of the judiciary,” Clark wrote in a letter to Democratic state committee members.  

Clark’s letter also addressed her “not recommended” rating from the PA Bar Association.  

“One last thing that makes me different is that I am appealing my rating from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. However, my appeal is not going back to a group of Bar Association lawyers, but rather to you and the Democratic Primary voters you represent as a member of the State Democratic Committee,” Clark wrote.   

Clark joins Rep. Bryan Barbin, Timothy Barry, James C. Crumlish III, Joe Cosgrove, Todd Eagen and Ellen Ceisler in the Democratic race for the two open seats on the Court.  The Court currently has six Republicans and one Democrat.

February 8th, 2017 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Judicial, Top Stories | 16 Comments

16 thoughts on “Clark Tosses Hat into Commonwealth Court Race”

  1. Answer Desk says:

    PhillyPolitico What are you talking about? What rulings? Find one.

  2. David Diano says:


    On a side note, the lawyers arguing before the court for Trump are terrible too, and Trump will probably try to appoint some as judges.

  3. eagleswing says:

    WHY would anyone want a JUDGE WHO: has ‘little courtroom experience as an advocate…Her experience with the rules of evidence and courtroom procedure is limited to the time she served as a Pittsburgh magistrate and Housing Court judge…. The candidate candidly admitted that she had very limited experience as a trial or appellate advocate and no experience in writing briefs or opinions. ” .. GOOD GOD ! real lawyers would CrAWL away from having to appear in front of her. we have enough genetic – entitlement judges on the bench now–vote for me my name is (fill in the blank, wenna WATSON lori ZAPPALA, bob COLVILLE, irene CLARK..) . this is a serious matter. lawyers who do not cannot and have not tried cases do NOT belong on the appellate bench reviewing actions of lawyers who do. (McCullough is living proof of that. )

  4. bad judges says:

    There are bums on Commonwealth Court now who are inferior to her. They neither know nor follow the law and cannot write a coherent Opinion.

  5. fake judges says:

    Note the “hereditary” judge names in her competition. Good old PA loves hereditary politicians.

  6. fake judges says:

    Zakrey: You may be right. If somebody as unqualified as Trump can win Presidency, then her getting elected to appellate PA court would be anti-climactic.

  7. fake judges says:

    It’s a campaign photo. Of course she is going to wear a black garment that looks like a judge’s robe. Not unlike judicial candidates slamming jail doors in TV ads. Similar to judicial candidates who use the verb “judge” just before their name on ads. BTW, Pgh Municipal judges did wear black robes, as do local JP’s (now called District Justice) who often have no legal training beyond a 6-week quickie course.

  8. Zakrey Bissell says:

    I think for she will win this race in 2017.

  9. Support our Judges says:

    The Bar Association does a thorough and complete vetting of these candidates. The Commission is bi-partisan, diverse and dedicated to the citizens of the Commonwealth. They usually get these things right. Think Covey!

  10. Court Watcher says:

    Shocked, shocked that y’all were too lazy to just go to the Bar Association website and read:

    “After graduating from law school, the candidate has been employed in a variety of positions handling civil litigation and divorce and custody proceedings. In 1993, the candidate was appointed to the Pittsburgh Municipal Court, where she continued to serve until 2003. Since that time, the candidate served in a variety of positions and maintained a private law practice addressing the problem of municipal blight. Although the candidate’s record demonstrates a commitment to justice and a strong work ethic, she has minimal experience that would lend itself to an appellate court position. The candidate has little courtroom experience as an advocate. Her experience with the rules of evidence and courtroom procedure is limited to the time she served as a Pittsburgh magistrate and Housing Court judge. The candidate candidly admitted that she had very limited experience as a trial or appellate advocate and no experience in writing briefs or opinions. This indicates to the commission that her exposure within the legal system is very narrow. Given the candidate’s minimal experience as outlined above, the commission does not recommend her candidacy for the Commonwealth Court.”

  11. David Diano says:

    She does mention her work in private practice. I’m assuming that means private legal practice.

    What (if any) big cases did she win? Did any set a precedent? What was her success rate in court?

    For example, if some very successful ACLU lawyer wanted to be a judge (or even a Supreme Court Justice), I’d totally support that, even if they’d never served a day on the bench. I’d also support a leading civil rights attorney for a judge.

    I don’t know if either would get a “recommended” from the Bar if they were always on the other side of the bench.

  12. PhillyPolitico says:

    It’s false that Irene Clark doesn’t have a record of rulings. Here’s what the Bar Association said:

    Irene McLaughlin Clark, a longtime Pittsburgh housing court judge, received a “not recommended” rating in her run for Commonwealth Court. While the panel said her “record demonstrates a commitment to justice and a strong work ethic,” it said that outside her area of expertise, “her exposure within the legal system is very narrow.”

  13. David Diano says:

    We Are Watching-

    Maybe it’s a robe from a graduation ceremony. 🙂

    If her rulings are as creative as her campaign so far, it would be interesting.

  14. We Are Watching says:

    Can her dishonest campaign consultant explain why she appears to be wearing a judicial robe in this picture? She hasn’t been a municipal court judge for at least 27 years.

    (Pittsburgh municipal court judges no longer exist and were eliminated decades ago)

  15. Answer Desk says:

    She has no legal history or rulings. Thus why the bar rated her not recommended.

  16. David Diano says:

    That really isn’t how legal ratings work, but points for originality in spinning it to the voters who have no idea of your legal history/rulings.

    It’s no worse than what Kelly Ann and Spicer would spin.


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