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
In Re: Designation of Chair & Vice-Chair of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee (appointment)
Date: October 17, 2019
Docket Number: 515 Criminal Procedural Rules Docket
Commonwealth v. Fey, C. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 112 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Fey, C. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 113 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Beatty, P. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 144 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Boulding, C. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 159 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Frankenberry, J. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 161 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Cosby, F. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 167 WAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Colon, W. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 184 EAL 2019
In Re: Lawyer Assessment Committee (rules)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 186 Disciplinary Rules
Commonwealth v. Smith, N. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 191 MAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Boyd, K. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 248 EAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Grant, M. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 274 EAL 2019
Commonwealth v. Berry, S. (petitions for allowance of appeal)
Date: October 16, 2019
Docket Number: 277 EAL 2019
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