In state Superior Court race, four candidates vie for two open seats
Four candidates are running for two open seats on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court, one of the state’s two intermediate appellate courts.
The Superior Court hears all appeals from the Court of Common Pleas and is made up of 15 judges. Appeals are generally heard by a three-judge panel. Only one candidate, Amanda Green-Hawkins, is from Western Pennsylvania. Megan McCarthy King graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Amanda Green-Hawkins (Democrat)
Current: Associate counsel for the United Steelworkers
Former: Allegheny County Councilwoman
Hawkins attended Duke University followed by Northeastern University School of Law, where she graduated in 2001, according to her answers to a questionnaire from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She spent the next year as a clerk for New Jersey Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson.
She represented the Steelworkers union in civil litigation in federal courts, filing pleadings and motions, writing briefs and appearing for oral arguments, according to her Pennsylvania Bar answers. Since 2010, she has advised the union of employment matters related to discrimination and harassment.
“My law practice, which has focused on appellate work, suits me for the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which I am convinced is the next natural step in my career,” Hawkins wrote.
Judge Daniel McCaffery (Democrat)
Current: Trial judge, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas
Former: Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney, managing partner at Friedman Schuman
The son of Irish immigrants, McCaffery joined the military right out of high school and was selected to attend the Military Academy at West Point Prep School. He attended Temple University and the university’s law school on veterans’ scholarships.
He said the appellate court’s role is to examine potential errors made by the trial court.
“Who better to know what those errors were … than a trial judge?” he said. “I think it’s important that trial judges seek appellate positions, and I think it’s important that people with experience and proven track records of success in courtrooms try to become involved in public service.”
Judge Christylee Peck (Republican)
Current: Judge, Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas
Former: Senior Assistant District Attorney, Cumberland County; Assistant District Attorney, Lancaster County
Peck received her law degree from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law and began her career at a private law firm in Harrisburg, according to her answers to a questionnaire from the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
In the Lancaster District Attorney’s Office, her focus was on prosecuting crimes against children before she returned to her home county of Cumberland to work in the District Attorney’s Office there.
She wrote that she wants to “serve the public in a broader capacity” and bring her trial judge and prosecutorial experience to the appellate court.
Megan McCarthy King (Republican)
Current: Deputy District Attorney, Child Abuse Unit, Chester County
Former: Assistant District Attorney, Lancaster County
King grew up in Delaware County and attended Vanderbilt University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She began her career in the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting child abuse cases, later taking on elder abuse as well.
She clerked for state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor and later became a certified special education teacher to better serve the children in her cases.
King said she thinks it’s important to note that she has current prosecutorial experience.
“I loved my opportunity to clerk for (Saylor), and I learned the responsibility of being an appellate judge is to follow the Constitution and rule of law,” she said. “Let the law be your guide, as opposed to bending the law for a desired outcome.”
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .