Pa.'s next chief justice: 'It's been a rough time'

Written by The Associated Press | Dec 30, 2014 3:01 PM

Photo by AP Photo/Bradley C Bower

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor swears in now-retired Speaker of the House Samuel Smith in this 2011 file photo.

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's next chief justice says the court has gone through "a rough time" with two colleagues leaving under the cloud of scandal in the recent past. 

Justice Thomas Saylor says he considers the departures of Joan Orie Melvin and Seamus McCaffery to be closed chapters. 

Saylor, who's spent 17 years on the court, is scheduled to be sworn in next week to succeed Chief Justice Ronald Castille. 

Saylor's a native of a small town in western Pennsylvania. He says his priority is to move cases through the court in a timely fashion while still considering them carefully. 

Saylor is deferring to Gov.-elect Tom Wolf and the Legislature about whether to temporarily fill two vacancies on the seven-member court until new justices are elected.

The man who will take over as the state's next chief justice next week comes from a small town in western Pennsylvania and worked as a prosecutor and a lawyer in private practice before becoming a judge more than two decades ago.


An earlier story is below:

Justice Thomas Saylor will be sworn in as chief justice after 17 years on the state's highest court. He'll succeed Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who earlier this year reached the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.

The chief justice collects a few thousand dollars more in salary, plays the lead role in assigning opinions, handles an array of administrative duties and serves as the public face of the state court system.

Saylor is a Republican with a reputation for mild-mannered collegiality and a scholarly approach.

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