Tea Party Group Urges Ouster of Supreme Court Judges

Justices Castille and Baer (left to right)
Justices Castille and Baer (left to right)

Normally, the judges on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court don’t have to worry much about whether or not they will be retained by voters. This year, however, Justices Castille and Baer will face some opposition.

The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC released a press release today urging voters to vote “No” in Tuesday’s election for the retention of both justices. The group’s anger stems from the failure of the Court to uphold the controversial voter ID law that was passed and signed into law by Governor Corbett.

“The Independence Hall Tea Party worked extremely hard to help get Voter ID passed–beginning in November 2010,” said PAC President, Don Adams.

“We have contacted over 170 Tea Party and Patriot groups across Pennsylvania to ask that they join us in urging the rejection of Justices Ron Castille and Max Baer for their role in obstructing the implementation of the Voter ID law in both the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Primary and General Elections.”

Although the group pledged to take this course of action last year if the law was struck down, it still comes as a bit of a surprise. Chief Justice Ron Castille is a Republican and Associate Justice Max Baer is a Democrat, yet both the state Democratic and Republican parties have officially endorsed the retention of each judge.

There have also been reports that the judges were already fearful that the sour mood of the national electorate after the government shutdown may hamper their chances to return to the bench. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Justice Baer commissioned a poll that showed an abnormally low percentage of voters, 55%, said that they favor retaining the incumbents.

The only PA Supreme Court justice to fail to retain their seat in the last 200 years was Justice Russell Nigro who was caught up in the backlash to the infamous legislative pay raise in 2005.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices face retention elections every 10 years.

12 Responses

  1. Below is the full press release issued by the Independence Hall Tea Party PAC

    Group Urges ‘No’ Vote on Retention of PA Supreme Court Justices

    Ron Castille and Max Baer; Says Justices Stopped Implementation of Voter ID;

    Urges Voters to Say ‘No’ to Judges who said ‘No’ to Voter ID

    Philadelphia (October 31, 2013) — The Independence Hall Tea Party PAC is urging a ‘No’ vote on retention of PA Supreme Court Justices Ron Castille (R) and Max Baer (D) in Tuesday’s November 5, 2013 election due to their failure to uphold the Voter ID law enacted by the Pennsylvania Assembly and signed by Governor Tom Corbett (R).

    “The Independence Hall Tea Party worked extremely hard to help get Voter ID passed–beginning in November 2010,” said PAC President, Don Adams.

    “We have contacted over 170 Tea Party and Patriot groups across Pennsylvania to ask that they join us in urging the rejection of Justices Ron Castille and Max Baer for their role in obstructing the implementation of the Voter ID law in both the 2012 and 2013 Pennsylvania Primary and General Elections,” said PAC President, Don Adams.

    According to Pennsylvania law, Chief Justice Ron Castille, age 69, is required to retire from the Supreme Court upon his 70th birthday.

    “The PAC is urging voters to give both justices an early retirement for thwarting the will of the people and Pennsylvania law by refusing to implement Voter ID.

    “Polls consistently show that Pennsylvanians favor Voter ID by overwhelming margins. A September 2012 Quinnipiac/NY Times/CBS Poll showed that 62% of Pennsylvanians approve the law, while 35% oppose.

    Additionally, 99% of those interviewed stated that they possessed a state issued photo identification and 1% did not,” said Adams.

    “Despite these figures, the PA Supreme Court, with the votes of both Justices Castille and Baer, has seen fit to obstruct Voter ID implementation in four election cycles by twice remanding that a lower court review the law’s merit, with specific stipulations of the high court, based on a questionable legal challenge.

    “The PA Supreme Court did not even have the courage to rule on the law itself.

    Instead, it is hiding behind the rulings of lower court judges.

    “This is completely unacceptable behavior and the voters of Pennsylvania will have a chance to say ‘No’ to the Justices who said ‘No’ to Voter ID and voter integrity.”

    “Undoubtedly, Justices Castille and Baer will spend a small fortune on the retention vote. We will be limited to word of mouth and free social media.

    But since 2013 is a low turnout election year, and voters, in general, are not in a good mood, we hope to prevail.

    # # #

  2. If Castille and Baer are not retained, Governor Corbett will appoint interim replacements until a special election can be held in 2014.

    If you think it’s fine that Voter ID has, in a sense, been struck down by these two Justices, than vote to retain them.

    Ed Rendell, of course, has endorsed their retention.

    Otherwise, why not vote no? Everyone is always saying ‘throw the bums out’ and here is an opportunity to do so.

    BTW, Bob Sklaroff, a number of conservative organizations, including Tea Party Groups, are also urging a NO vote on retention.

  3. With all due respect to the legal analysis provided by Guzzardi, the Adams-Sibblings are indeed focused on Voter-ID, and it is instructive that NO other member of the TEA [Taxed Enough Already] Party Movement has joined in this [last-second] Fool’s Errand.

    When this entity changed its blanket-name from “Tea Party” to “Foundation,” it tacitly admitted to having abandoned the principles [and strategic acumen, predicated on cooperation with sister/brother entities] that has underpinned this effort during the past four years.

    Indeed, it has both shunned and has been shunned by others in the movement, both loco-regionally and specifically when [recently] it attempted to infest Bucks County.

    Its emanations are misleading [particularly when people assume they represent anyone but their egos] and–other than noting that they “own” 7/4 @ the Independence Hall–they are best ignored.

    There is always hope that these committed-souls [who have forged relationships with individuals who share their pro-life belief-system, in particular] will reform–for the good of America–for hope springs eternal; True Conservatives await evidence of a turnabout.

  4. Justice Castille ignored Article III relating to the Single Subject Rule and the Original Purpose Rule of the Penna. Constitution in deciding both Pay Raise case and the Gaming case as did the Republican controlled General Assembly conniving with the Democratic Governor.

    In the Gaming case, the Committee Rule was ignored to give cover to then Republican Senator Chip Brightball who came from a district that had substantial opposition to gaming

    Whether the Pay Raise or Gaming are good policies or not, violating the Constitution never is and Supreme Court Justice Castille should be ashamed and so should we.

    Justice Castille is 69 and will be replaced in a year and Justice Baer will be 67 in December and will be replaced in 3 years. This retention election is “bait and switch” and a disgrace.

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