Family, friends, as well as past and present colleagues and high ranking state officials came together last week to honor the life of Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer. Baer, who was set to retire from the state’s high court at the end of the year, passed away unexpectedly last week.
At a celebration of life held at Duquesne University, Baer’s storied judicial history was highlighted. A 1975 graduate of Duquesne Law School, his judicial career began in 1989 when he served on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. His work focused on the court’s family division, where he was said to have left an “indelible mark” by implementing systemic changes to improve how the court dealt with children. He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 2003.
While praising Baer’s dedication to the state’s judicial system, speakers also made sure to highlight his devotion to his family. Baer his survived by his wife Beth, two adult sons and five grandchildren. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s coverage of Baer’s memorial service can be found here.
Per the state’s constitution, Gov. Tom Wolf has the authority to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court, subject to Senate confirmation. The Wolf administration has not revealed if he plans to do so before the end of his term in January.