B-PEP urges Wolf to fill Allegheny County court vacancy with African-American
Citing a lack of diversity on the Allegheny County bench, Pittsburgh’s Black Political Empowerment Project is calling on Gov. Tom Wolf to appoint Rosemary Crawford to fill a vacancy on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
In a letter to the governor, B-PEP Chairman and CEO Tim Stevens wrote that “Ms. Crawford is an African-American who was ‘highly recommended’ by the Allegheny County Bar Association in 2013. We feel that Ms. Crawford would be a very qualified jurist and a fair and impartial jurist.”
Crawford of Allison Park has been an attorney for more than 30 years. She serves as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee in federal court, as a mediator and arbitrator. She practices law with Crawford McDonald LLC.
The letter goes on to say that the absence of black judges in Pennsylvania courts must be addressed.
“Statewide there remains a dearth of African Americans elected to judicial seats throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and we ask that you use your influence to help correct that problem,” said Stevens.
“There are 43 judges who sit on the Allegheny County bench, yet only 3 of those judges are African-American, and not one of them preside in Criminal Court despite the overwhelming number of African-Americans who come before that same court on a daily basis.”
The governor’s spokesman, J.J. Abbott, says Wolf “appreciates the perspective shared in this letter.
“We are currently working through the judicial nomination process with the Senate, which must approve all nominees, and will announce nominations once that collaborative process is complete.”
The vacancy on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas was created by the retirement of Judge Donna Jo McDaniel.
Paul Guggenheimer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-226-7706 or [email protected].