Want Affordable Water? Judicial Elections Matter

The Commonwealth Court, one of the appeals courts in Pennsylvania, ruled last Thursday that the sale of the Chester Water Authority to Aqua can go ahead. The decision is here and appears to have been 5-2. That will be appealed and apparently there’s still much litigation to go. But what’s of interest today is that the opinion was written by Judge Patricia McCullough. She was retained by voters in 2019 for a further 10 year term, so she’ll be on the bench now until 2030. Who is she? Judge McCullough ran for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this year, but lost in the Republican primary. But her website is still up with this information,

She is the ONLY Judge in America to order the 2020 Presidential Election results not be certified.

She is the only judge running for the PA Supreme Court to be praised by President Trump.

Even though she lost in her run for the state’s supreme court, she’ll remain on the appeals court bench – the appeals court that hears elections appeals – for more than 8 more years. And she’s the one that wrote this opinion that puts Garden City’s water system closer to privatization and likely higher water rates.

There are several judges up for retention this year – all Republicans. The link here is for the state judges while the Court of Common Pleas judges up for retention are Angelos, Capuzzi, Durham, Green and Kelly. Some are close to the mandatory retirement age and are running for retention likely to delay their seats flipping to candidates that better represent Pennsylvania (or in the case of the Court of Common Pleas, DelCo’s shifting demographics). Unfortunately, you almost have to be a lawyer trying cases here to find much out about most of these judges. There’s no coverage in the media and little of public record beyond their decisions – and that’s not generally comprehensible to the general public. Those lawyers in the know are hardly willing to speak publicly as they’re likely to have to try cases in front of these judges in the future.

So, like most of Pennsylvania’s systems, this is yet another broken one. And, unfortunately, one that’s likely to decide the fate of our drinking water.

Categories: Government