Candidates campaign at county fair
It might be one of the most important political positions you didn’t know about.
With state-wide jurisdiction and the potential to set wide precedent that applies to all citizens, the Superior Court impacts the lives of all Pennsylvanians.
Republican Vic Stabile, a candidate for the office who visited the Warren County Fair on Saturday, said that the court’s public obscurity is “one of the most challenging aspects of running for a statewide judicial office. Unless people are involved with the courts, they don’t really have a sense for the court structure.”
Stabile explained that the Superior Court, which has 15 judges who most often hear cases in panels of three, has “very broad jurisdiction. (For) 90 percent of all cases, (the) Superior Court is the final word.”
Cases most often reach the Superior Court after they have been heard in the county-level Common Pleas courts. “Under our Constitution, you have the right to have your case heard in a court of law and a Constitutional right to at least one appeal. For most cases in Pennsylvania, that appeal goes to the state Superior Court.
After review by a judicial review commission, Stabile said that “I was the only candidate that was recommended based on what was found to be significant experience in the appellate courts. I actually started my professional career in our appellate court as an appellate judicial clerk.
“I’ve spent 30 years in the trenches representing people of both sides of the bar and I appreciate now what a case means to somebody, how it affects somebody’s life,” he added. “The courts make decisions. I understand what a good and a bad judge is. I have reached the point where I do appreciate that these courts in Pennsylvania belong to the people of Pennsylvania.”
While he is running as a Republican, Stabile was adamant that the Superior Court is not political.
“This is not a position about my personal philosophy, my personal politics,” he said. “It’s about going to the people of Pennsylvania and saying ‘I want you to trust me to be on this court so if you’re ever in front of this court, I will apply the law to you the same way I would anybody else and I will defend your Constitutional rights.
“If I am elected, I will see that everybody is given the same benefit of or laws apply the laws the way they are written,” Stabile explained. “I will not legislate from the bench.”