A scathing Philadelphia Inquirer editorial rips the judicial discipline process that allowed Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin to resign amid a lewd email scandal and avoid a public trial and the penalties it might have brought. Eakin was fined $50,000 and allowed to keep his pension (see Gavel Grab).
“The unmistakable impression is that Pennsylvania’s entire judiciary suffers from an arrogance that prevents it from subjecting its own to the sort of unflinching judgment it imposes on others,” the editorial says.
The editorial voices disappointment “that the disciplinary court, particularly after one of its judges showed an encouraging grasp of the need for a public process, gave in to the system’s unhealthy proclivity for backroom bargains.” It goes on to say that another justice was a “more prolific porn-mail participant” than Eakin but enjoyed a “similarly quiet exit” from the high court less than two years ago. The editorial concludes by citing unanswered questions and urging adoption of merit selection of top judges: (more…)