Why does it seems after we elect a judge he’s always there? What does it mean when the judge appears on the ballot for “retention?”

How Pennsylvania Judicial Elections Work

Currently in Pennsylvania, elections to fill vacancies on the courts are held in odd-numbered years. Appellate court and common pleas court candidates run in partisan elections (i.e., under a party label) for terms of ten years; minor court candidates also run in partisan elections, but for six year terms. Typically, the major political parties endorse candidates to run. For trial judges only, a candidate may receive the endorsement of both parties. Following completion of a term, a judge can stand for successive ten-year terms in retention elections (non-partisan, uncontested yes/no votes) up until mandatory retirement at the age of seventy.

Like other candidates who run for office in contested elections, judicial candidates must raise money to finance their campaigns. Typically, contributors to such campaigns are the very parties, litigants and lawyers who ultimately appear before the courts on which the candidates are seeking to serve.  Additionally, third party special interest groups have become increasingly active in judicial elections, funding advertising campaigns and making contributions to candidates. Rules of conduct do not require judges to recuse themselves in cases involving campaign contributors.

Historically, judicial elections in Pennsylvania have not generated nearly as much media coverage, citizen interest or participation as elections for representative office, such as governor, senator, or representative. Voters, in fact, have complained that they have not had much information available to them in making decisions between candidates. This perceived lack of information in large part resulted from codes of conduct prohibiting judicial candidates from announcing their views on disputed issues likely to come before them on the courts.

Who may run for judicial office in Pennsylvania?

Under the current system, the only requirements for an individual to run for judicial office are:

  • United States citizenship;
  • Residency of at least one year in Pennsylvania (or, for local elections, in the county);
  • Membership in the bar of the Supreme Court; and
  • At least 21 years old.

Judicial candidates are not required to have tried any cases or even actually practiced law at all, let alone for any minimum number of years.

How long are judges elected for?

Most judges are elected for ten year terms. This is true for elections to fill judicial vacancies, as well as for subsequent retention elections.  However, municipal court and traffic judges in Philadelphia serve six year terms.

What is a retention election?

Retention elections are non-partisan, uncontested yes-no votes. This differs from an election to fill a judicial vacancy where candidates run in partisan elections (i.e. under a party label.) Following completion of an initial term, a judge can stand for successive ten-year terms in retention elections until he or she reaches age 70, the mandatory retirement age.

What happens if there is a vacancy created mid-term?

In the event a vacancy is created by the retirement, resignation, death or election of a judge to a higher court, an interim vacancy is created. The vacancy is filled by nomination by the Governor and confirmation by a two-thirds vote of the state Senate. Typically, for appellate court interim vacancies, the nominee’s confirmation is conditioned on a promise that he or she will not run in the succeeding election to fill the vacancy.

Who are current judges and justices on the Pennsylvania courts?

To view PMC’s charts on the current composition of the Supreme Court, click here, and on the Superior and Commenwealth Courts, click here.


Heritage Hosts Skills Clinic in Lancaster

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Heritage Hosts Skills Clinic in Lancaster

Holding Congress accountable is tough work, and it can seem even more daunting when you’re tackling the task alone. Whether you are new to the fight or a seasoned activist, the Sentinel Skills Clinic will help you better engage Congress and have your voice heard. Join fellow Pennsylvania conservatives as we share the tools to take meaningful action at this crucial time in our country’s history.

Lancaster Skills Clinic:

Homewood Suites by Hilton Lancaster
200 Granite Run Drive
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 17601

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Registration at 6:30
Clinic 7:00-9:00pm

Register for Lancaster http://lancasterskillsclinic.eventbrite.com/#

Session Topics include:

·         Navigating Sentinel and the Heritage Action Dashboard
·         Effective Meetings with your Congressman
·         Twitter 101
·         And more!

We’re asking $5 to cover a pizza dinner at the door.

for your local clinic today and bring your friends!

An invitation from SUN Area Council of Republican Women

Dear Republican Woman,
We would like to personally invite you to become a member of the SUN Area Council of Republican Women. We have been doing exciting things to help elect Republican Candidates well as inform our community about candidates running for office and legislative issues.
Our next meeting will held in Northumberland County on Thursday, February 7th meeting at the Old “Y”, 325 Market Street, Sunbury at 6:30pm. We thank the Servanos for their generosity in allowing us to use their space. Our meeting topic will laying the groundwork on the importance of this year’s school board elections and how the school boards affect our lives, especially through their taxation powers. Presenting the topic will be Ben Ranck who brings a wealth of information to the subject. We will also be installing our new leadership for 2013-2014.
At our January meeting we invited Matt Wagner who spoke on Right to Work. I think you’ll agree that creating and sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania and the USA is a very important issue. It was a very informative meeting.
SUNACRW will be at the Evangelical Community Hospital’s Children’s Health Fair at the Susquehanna Valley Mall, where children color valentines for vets. The event is on Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. These valentines will be sent to veterans in our vet hospitals as well as those
soldiers currently serving overseas.
We would be thrilled to have you join us. I’m sure you will enjoy networking with others who are concerned about our country, state, and counties. We would be honored to have you as a SUNACRW member. You can choose to be as active or inactive as you wish. Too busy? Give us your check and we
will invest your money in activities that promote Republican principles. The cost is $5.00 to join the National Federation of Republican Women, the PA Federation of Republican Women and SUN Area Council of  Republican Women. Think about it, that’s only five cups of coffee a week and the benefits are tremendous.
With warmest regards,
SUN Area Council of Republican Women

PA Family Council to implements a GOTV program aimed at turning out values voters on November 6th

Click to view flyer – Are you motivated to do something about the liberal agenda against Life, Traditional Marriage and Religious Freedom

A message from Carolyn –

Did you know that 30% of Evangelicals are not registered to vote?  Or that approximately 65% of all church-goers are unregistered or rarely cast a ballot?

I am working with PA Family Council to implement a GOTV program aimed at turning out values voters on November 6th.  We will be organizing phone banks and canvassing efforts throughout Pennsylvania.  Please consider volunteering to advance this effort.  We will be using cutting edge technology to maximize our time and energy.  Please share the attached flyer with your friends and families.

Will you help make a difference?  No matter how much free time you have there are ways for you to significantly impact voter turnout on Election Day.  If you’ve never be involved before, now is the time.  All training is provided.

Join us to inform voters of candidate differences for President and U.S. Senate.  Help us identify voters who will elect candidates who value life, traditional marriage and religious freedom.  Come help, have some fun and meet new people all while making a difference for our country, communities, and families.

Carolyn Conner





3/26/2012 is the last day to register to vote before the primary

Do you know anyone who will be 18 years of age on or before April 24th, 2012 (Primary Election Day) and is not registered to vote?

Do you know someone who has recently moved to the area and has not changed their address with the voter registration office?

Do you know someone who wishes to change party in order to vote for a candidate in this primary election?

Do you know someone who has changed their name and needs to make a correction in their voter registration?

All of the above mentioned can be taken care of on the voter registration form.  All changes for this Primary Election  need to be changed by Monday, April 26, 2012.


May 17, 2011 Primary Election Day, don’t forget to exercise your right to vote!

Voting is a privilege that many in America take for granted.  Every vote does count, and the local races impact our lives on an everyday basis much more than our national races such as for President.  During the 2011 Primary we will choose candidates for our Fall ballot for township supervisor and borough council, school board, and county row offices to name a few.  We will also be choosing candidates for state judges.  Please be informed and get out and exercise your right to vote!  The polls are open from 7:00 am – 8:00 pm.   The Snyder County Election results will be posted as they come in on the www.snydercounty.org website.

Tuesday, May 10th is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot

The last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot is May 10.  If there is a chance you will not be able to vote on Primary Election Day (May 17th, 2011) you should cast your vote by absentee.  Do you know someone who will be needing an absentee?  A student, a truck driver, a doctor or nurse who may be on call and get called in, someone who has trouble getting around, or someone going on vacation.