Justice Michael Eakin has become the second member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to resign amid a recent pornographic email scandal, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Eakin faced ethics charges. He had been suspended and had issued a public apology.
Eakin was to face a trial before a judicial ethics court later in March; Pennlive.com said it was uncertain whether his resignation would bring that case to an end. Additional coverage came from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Associated Press.
Pennsylvania elects its Supreme Court justices, in a system that last year delivered the most costly state supreme court election in national history and that has widely been associated with scandal in the Keystone State. The legislature is weighing a proposal to shift to a merit-based appointive system, supported jointly by the state’s current governor and all living past governors in a recent bipartisan statement. Editorial boards have seized on scandal to voice support for merit selection, and the latest resignation is likely to kindle more calls for reform.