Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Decisions

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court dates from 1722 and was the first state supreme court to hold the authority to declare laws enacted by an elected legislature unconstitutional. The Court meets in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. It is generally limited to appellate jurisdiction, but it holds original jurisdiction over cases involving writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, and quo warranto. Seven justices serve on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and their terms last for 10 years. To serve as a justice, a candidate must be a citizen of Pennsylvania and a member of the Bar of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Voters choose justices in partisan elections, which means that a candidate may appear on the ticket of their political party. Once a justice has served their first 10-year term, they will run in a retention election to determine whether they will serve another 10-year term. If the judge loses the retention election, the Governor of Pennsylvania will appoint an interim justice, subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Senate. This justice will serve until the state holds a special election for a permanent justice. The most senior justice on the Supreme Court serves as the Chief Justice. Pennsylvania imposes a mandatory retirement age of 75 on Supreme Court justices.

A justice can be removed from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court if they are impeached by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in a majority vote and convicted by the Pennsylvania Senate in a two-thirds vote. Alternatively, a justice can be removed following a complaint by the judicial conduct board or an individual. This will trigger an investigation in which the judicial conduct board will decide whether there is probable cause to file formal charges against the justice. If probable cause is found, the board will present the case against the justice to the court of judicial discipline. This court will determine whether discipline is appropriate and then decide whether to remove the justice or impose lesser sanctions.

Browse Opinions From the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Recent Decisions From the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Commonwealth v. Snyder, C. (summary disposition)
Date: October 4, 2022
Docket Number: 236 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Black, S. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 4, 2022
Docket Number: 285 WAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Shaw, S. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 3, 2022
Docket Number: 331 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Wright, M. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 230 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Hunsberger, M. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 281 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Issoufou, Z. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 341 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Rojas-Rolon, V. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 359 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Strunk, T. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 360 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. McNelis, K. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 392 MAL 2021
Commonwealth v. Jones, S. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: September 30, 2022
Docket Number: 393 MAL 2021
Rehab & Community Provider, et al., Aplts v. DHS (concurring)
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: 13 MAP 2021
Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association, et al. v. Dept. Human Svcs (majority)  
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: 13 MAP 2021

Justia Opinion Summary: The underlying dispute before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in this case involved the adequacy of state funding for community participation support ("CPS") services, which were designed to help individuals with autism…

Commonwealth v. Gallaway, D., Aplt. (dissenting)
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: 17 WAP 2021
Pennsylvania v. Gallaway (majority)  
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: 17 WAP 2021

Justia Opinion Summary: On the morning of May 27, 2016, the body of Denhad Taiedi, who owned the Jefferson Hills Motel, was discovered in the motel’s office with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Blood stains were found on a tray inside a cash…

Commonwealth v. Stevenson, V., Aplt. (concurring)
Date: September 29, 2022
Docket Number: 21 WAP 2021
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