Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chief Justice of PA Supreme Court Will Retire

Earlier today, at 11:21 am, Tuesday, September 11, 2007, it was announced that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ralph J. Cappy will resign from the Court effective Dec. 31, 2007.

He then will be replaced as Chief Justice by
Justice Ronald Castille; and the resignation will create a vacancy on that court in 2008, to be filled by election in 2009.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts posted a Media Advisory on September 11, 2007, about the resignation tendered to the Governor in a letter. AOPC included links to textual & graphic material:

Please find attached a statement issued today by Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ralph J. Cappy and the text of an accompanying letter from the chief justice to Gov. Ed Rendell. Additional attachments include a photo and the chief justice's biography.

The Chief Justice's statement summarized his thoughts in resigning:

After serving for nearly 30 years as a member of the Pennsylvania judiciary, I have notified Governor Rendell of my decision to retire and resign as a Justice of the Supreme Court at the end of 2007.

It is a decision made for personal reasons and after thoughtful consideration. As I said in my letter to the Governor, I am proud of the Supreme Court's record during the five years I have served as Chief Justice. We have modernized. We have developed new programs to better serve people who use the courts. We have worked to address the needs of families, women and minorities in the courts. We have improved courthouse security. And we have set in motion initiatives designed to ensure other improvements as the years go on.

But for me, after years of an extremely busy work schedule, I believe it is time to go. I had a hip replaced in July. During the period of recovery I had time for reflection. I realized that, after nearly three decades on the bench, the time had come for me to pass on the torch. I am 64 years old. My health is still good. But I want to spend more time with my family and to pursue personal interests. * * *

Many newspapers in Pennsylvania reported the resignation, including:

The successor in the Chief Justice role, beginning in January, 2008, will be Justice Castille. He gained his primary experience & expertise in law enforcement & complex litigation roles. I wonder then, how will the Orphans' Court Division of the Common Pleas Courts be addressed in the future under the changing leadership?