Justice Stevens Calls on PA GOP to Investigate Inaccurate Mailer

Stevens-mailerState Supreme Court Justice Correale Stevens is not happy about a recent direct mail attack.

The newsletter, distributed to a conservative group, identified Justice Stevens as the “Pa. gay marriage ruling judge.”

The problem? Justice Stevens (and the rest of the State Supreme Court) didn’t decide that issue. U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III did.

Stevens contacted the group that used the photo, the Lebanon 9-12 project, and they issued a correction. Still, the Justice wants PA GOP Chair Rob Gleason to investigate whether any of Stevens’ primary opponents were behind this.

Justice Stevens’ letter to Chairman Gleason is included below:

Dear Mr. Gleason,

Please note I request an immediate investigation into unethical campaign behavior and possible mail fraud in the primary campaign for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

I ask for a written statement from each of the endorsed candidates and their respective campaign chairman, as well as any party officials, as to if they had any knowledge or participation in the matter.

Specifically, a doctored photograph has been disseminated with my picture suggesting I was the judge who decided a controversial case when, in fact, it was in federal court, not in the Supreme Court on which I am a Justice.

Clearly, this was done by someone intending to influence the Primary election and who has knowledge of the legal system.

The case itself does not matter.

What matters is that if such action was taken with the knowledge or consent of any candidate, the unethical campaign behavior should be made known and disavowed by the Republican Party as such an individual is not qualified to be on the Supreme Court.

Jim Rodkey of the Lebanon 9-12 Project discovered he was sent a doctored photograph indicating I was the judge who decided the case involving overturning the ban on same sex marriages and unknowingly disseminated the false information. (The Lebanon 9-12 Project opposes that court decision.) When I mentioned to him the case was in federal, not state, court, to his credit he immediately send out a corrective newsletter.

Again, it is not the case that matters, it could be any case. What matters is that someone with knowledge of the law, the courts and the campaign process is unethically trying to influence the process. And this is exactly the kind of person we do not need on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Justice Stevens was appointed in May 2013 after the resignation of Joan Orie Melvin. He is running for re-election this year but did not seek and did not receive an official party endorsement.

Update: Chairman Gleason has sent the following letter in response to Justice Stevens:

“I received your letter regarding the alleged dissemination of a doctored photograph of yourself to potential voters.

Your letter is the first time our Party and staff have heard of this alleged incident, and we have no knowledge of the existence of the aforementioned photograph.  

Making accusations against individuals, or, in this case, our Party, without evidence, could potentially set a dangerous precedent of unjustified accusations in the future that unfairly impugn the integrity of others.

Lastly, I will remind you that the Republican Party of Pennsylvania is not an investigative body, and I advise you to take any evidence that you may have regarding this matter to the appropriate authorities.”​

14 Responses

  1. I think the point is that the RSC has been known to engage in behind-the-scenes hijinks to shore up their candidates and discredit the unendorsed candidates. They do not care about the truth. They do not care about who is the most competent for the position. The RSC wants their hand-picked chosen ones so that they can be in control of the courts. Plain and simple. Judge Stevens is right to question RSC involvement. It is certainly a possibility.

  2. Looking at this objectively, since nobody really knows who may have sent this mailer, isn’t it possible that Justice Stevens own campaign sent it as a way to garner more publicity and support for his campaign? I am not saying he did, but since we don’t know who sent it, it cannot be ruled out as a possibility. Sure, one of his primary opponents could have sent it, but that allegation lacks any substance since there is no evidence provided for it. And yes, I realize that my statement that his own campaign sent it is also lacking any evidence. Of course, any other possibilities fall into that category as well. So, unless Justice Stevens provides evidence that even hints that an opponent sent it, anything discussed regarding it is pure guess work.

  3. One glance down this group’s FaceBook page shows no one who reads its garbage is likely to have voted anything but GOP party line in the first place. It should be called the anti-Senator Teplitz page. That adds context to Gleason’s smug and terse reply, though.

  4. Gleason is 75 years old. He is privileged because he was born into it, the opposite of a self made man. Born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. His business and chairing the GOP, Gleason has never done anything in life that his family and daddy didn’t give him. You are lucky when you are born on third base. It doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished anything. Just the opposite are still there.

  5. Does anyone know just how old Chair Rob Gleason actually is? I bet you can’t find out!!!

  6. Maybe it was Covey’s campaign trying to deflect her negative press. The Republican Party should be embarrassed for the mess they’ve created. Gleason and his puppets need to wake up – the good old boy system is over! Trust me folks, this is going to get much worse. Stay tuned……

  7. “The case itself does not matter.”
    “Again, it is not the case that matters, it could be any case.”

    Umm…. I’m pretty sure the case does matter. If it didn’t, he might have written… “while I would be proud to be associated with overturning the ban on same sex marriage, unfortunately I cannot take credit for this wonderful ruling”.

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