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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lehigh Valley Judicial Candidates Thumb Noses at DemocracyRising

Progress Pittsburgh complains today that no judicial candidate in Allegheny County has bothered to answer a statewide judicial questionnaire prepared by Democracy Rising Pa. The same thing's happening here in the lehigh Valley.

Last month, I told you that Steven Baratta, a Northampton County judge, has ignored these questions. In fact, someone huffed this morning that judicial candidates just waste their time by responding to "irrelevant fringe organizations like Democracy Rising." I could readily understand someone viewing me as some goofy nitwit, but Democracy Rising is "one of the cornerstones of the statewide reform movement in Pennsylvania."

It might interest you to know that Lehigh County's sole judge seeking retention, Bob Steinberg, has also snubbed this questionnaire. So have all eight candidates seeking judicial vacancies.

Here's the tough questions they're ducking.

Is it right for judges to hire their relatives and friends for important positions in the court system?

Is it right for judges to have secret meetings with lawmakers and governors about matters such as the pay raise?

Is it right for courts to issue orders without opinions that explain their legal authority and reasoning?

Is it right for courts to conceal administrative documents that deal with how judges spend tax dollars?

Is the court properly interpreting the Constitution to protect citizens from abuses by the other branches of government?

Does our court system operate in a way that builds citizen confidence or destroys it
Maybe it's time to start snubbing these judges. After all, even our mini-judge candidates will answer tougher questions than that.


LVDem said...

holy crap... those are softball questions if you ask me. I'd have a freakin' term paper written about them if I had the chance.

R Melch-kee said...

Judges should have to start out as
magistrates and have their finances
monitored constantly.

they should always be looking over their shoulders.

Also, all prosecuters should have to wait 10 years before they can be judges, who should not be elected but appointed by the citizenry.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, You're absolutely right! Take a look at the questions I've asked our mini-judge candidates. Those are some tough questions, but the magisterial candidates are willing to answer them. But the softball questions for common pleas judges have been widely ignored.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. R Melch-kee aka Moshki, aka Mrs. Jolly Joe Timmer,

Your suggestions regarding prosecutors is excellent. Most judges worrk their way into that position right from the DA's office. And they struggle. Tae a look at Paula Roscioli's first campaign for judge. She acted like she was running for DA. In fact, I think that's why she lost.

R Ms--Tim-kee said...

We can also say to them: "Judge not
ye brood of snipers."

they make one madder than pols do because they wear those silly dresses

Anonymous said...

My understanding from friends in Pittsburgh is that no judicial candidate in Pennsylvania should answer those questions. Simply by answering those questions the candidate risks the possibility of being disqualified by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It seems to me like that is the reason not a single candidate answered.

Anonymous said...

I am far more curious to know which candidates took money from which special interest groups and which law firms. To me the far better question that I would love to know about each candidate is who do they owe?

Bernie O'Hare said...


If this is true, then no one should vote for these guys and gals because they don't know the law. Those questions, which I've laid out in the body of my post, are softballs. They have nothing to do with specific legal issues.

Judicial candidates in some counties have answered the questions. So have appellate judge candidates. I believe the rumor is false.

I do agree with you about following the money.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The comment disparaging Democracy Rising PA, which I mention in my post, did come from Pittsburgh.

Anonymous said...

Here's a judicial question- As I drive around Bethlehem, I see political signs, including ones for the magesterial race for Judge Romig's position. I hear she's retiring, so there are three candidates vying. My question is "who is the "Romig" who's running against Cruz and Negrete? I took a close look at the signs and it appears the candidate in question is some called "Patricia Passaro". Her first and last names are tiny, compared to the great big ROMIG on the signs. Hope I'm wrong, but it appears that Patricia Passara is trying to pull a fast one on voters. If this tactic in not illegal, it sure smells to high heaven.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon, You're talking about Patricia Romig-Passaro, 42, of Bethlehem, a Democrat. She has cross-filed for both Republican and Democratic nominations in the May primary election. Passaro is the daughter of Senior District Judge Elizabeth Romig, who retired in 2005 after 29 years but remains in office. She's running for her mom's seat. I don't think there's anything improper when a woman chooses to hyphenate the name. The empghasis on Romig is obvious becauuse she's proud of her mom, and thinks it will help her at the polls. And it will. If she's anything like her mom, she deserves the job.