Allegheny County judicial candidates speak up
At times Saturday, there seemed to be few differences among the many attorneys seeking the Democratic Committee's endorsement for judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County.
Yet, at a candidates' forum at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Law, some managed to stand out.
Eleanor Bush, for instance, earned the biggest laugh of the event when asked to name her least favorite Supreme Court ruling. She cited the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, which effectively ended the tight presidential election won by George W. Bush.
“I detest the results of that case, as well as the fact that my last name is on it,” said Bush, a child welfare attorney, who is not related to the former president.
For two hours, candidates answered questions written by Pitt law students and practicing attorneys from the Oakland and Shadyside Democratic committees. Organizers barred the candidates from delivering stump speeches, and instead instructed candidates to speak only to the questions and keep answers to 60 seconds.
“The format is helpful for voters because they get to see the candidates thinking on their feet,” said Jeann Clark, co-organizer and chair of the Shadyside Democratic Committee.
Fourteen candidates are vying for four open seats; 11 of the candidates attended the forum. The committee will make its endorsement March 10.
Mark Tranquilli, an assistant Allegheny County district attorney, said it is not surprising that the candidates seem similar, particularly at an event that disallows prepared or personal statements.
“We're all good Allegheny County people – in other parts of the country, it's six degrees of separation, but in Pittsburgh, it's two degrees,” he said. “It's no surprise that we have a lot of the same ideas,”
But as the campaign draws on, differences will emerge, he said, particularly when voters learn more about the candidates' personal and professional lives.
Tranquilli carries the highest profile of the candidates. He helped prosecute Ronald Robinson, who in January was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the shooting death of Penn Hills police Officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, and Richard Poplawski, who shot and killed three city police officers in 2009.
Of course, at a gathering of Democrats, barbs at Republicans also play well.
Take Downtown attorney Marc Daffner: He got a round of laughs when he said his favorite Supreme Court Justice is the conservative Antonin Scalia because his rulings tend to rile, and thus mobilize, Democrats.
Jennifer Satler of the North Side hopes her age will set her apart. At 37, she is the youngest candidate.
“Embrace the youth,” she said. “I can bring a fresh and energetic look, and I'm a good investment.”
Other candidates who attended the forum were: Patrick Connelly, Craig Stephens, Marcia Cooper, PJ Murray, Richard Schubert, Barbara Ernsberger and Marvin Leibovitz. Candidates Paul Cozza, William Caye and Joe Luvara did not show.
Chris Togneri is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5632 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Google grants teachers’ school supply wishes
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- State lawmakers delay hearings on Corbett’s review of academic standards
- Parents keep children home from Brookline schools after threat
- Mandated sewer project to increase Alcosan customers’ bills
- Identical twins born at West Penn Hospital a rare medical marvel
- Allegheny police seek non-custodial dad, missing 4-year-old son
- Nonprofits replace humdrum charity 5Ks with rappelling
- Air Conditioning Contractors, Peoples partner on furnace cleanings for low-income residents
- City of Pittsburgh detective, 2 boys finalize adoption before judge
- Internet access still out of reach for some, Census figures show