Democratic candidates funded by the trial bar came out victorious in the November 7th General Election – taking all of the statewide open judicial seats. On the ballot this year was one state Supreme Court seat, two open Superior Court seats and one seat on the Commonwealth Court.
In the closely watched race for the Supreme Court, Democrat Daniel McCaffery – who most recently served on the state Superior Court – bested Republican Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carolyn Carluccio. The race made headlines for the amount of money raised by the candidates, as well as significant independent expenditures by outside groups. Judge McCaffrey received substantial contributions from plaintiffs’ attorneys and their political action committees. More details on the impact of fundraising efforts for both candidates can be found in this Spotlight PA article.
The two open Superior Court seats will be filled by Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane. They defeated Republican candidates Maria Battista and Harry Smail.
The open seat on the Commonwealth Court will be filled by Democrat Matt Wolf. Unofficial results show that he won 53 percent of the vote compared to his Republican opponent Megan Martin’s 47 percent.
The trial bar sweep is reminiscent of the 2015 judicial elections when plaintiff attorney backed candidates took three Supreme court seats. PCCJR has long warned of the negative impacts unbalanced and activist courts are having on the state’s civil justice system. Over the past seven years, the Supreme Court has handed down numerous decisions that have expanded the scope of liability and damages in Pennsylvania – leading to higher healthcare costs and less job creation. This outcome also further dims any hope that the Supreme court will restore the medical liability venue rule it rescinded effective January 1, 2023.
Judicial elections have consequences. Pennsylvania will be dealing with these consequences for a long time.