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Politics & Government

Supreme Court Suspends Justice McCaffery, With Pay

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery has been benched over his recent admission of sending sexually explicit e-mails with people in the state attorney general's office, along with other imbroglios over the past few years. The suspension is effective immediately, though McCaffery will still receive pay.

The court's order also cites last week's allegation from Justice Michael Eakin that he was threatened by McCaffery as well as earlier allegations that McCaffery engaged in ticket-fixing and influence-peddling.

McCaffery has apologized for sending lewd e-mails, denied threatening Eakin, and has said Chief Justice Ron Castille is out to get him.

Update: PennLive's Charlie Thompson has obtained a statement from McCaffery's lawyer, who attributes the suspension to Castille's "relentless crusade to destroy [McCaffery's] career and reputation."

In a concurring opinion filed with the order, Castille says McCaffery is right about one thing: "I have been attempting to remove Justice McCaffery from this Court," he writes. But Castille argues it is because McCaffery has subjected the court to "public ridicule" and has repeatedly shifted blame onto others, acting like a "sociopath."

Neither McCaffery nor Eakin participated in the order.

Justice Debra McCloskey Todd dissented, saying the issue is best left to the Judicial Conduct Board.

"Yet, today, based upon unvetted claims and allegations, a majority of our Court, one of whom is deeply involved in this controversy, has suspended a fellow Justice... even a Justice is entitled to due process."

The JCB will consider over the next month whether to file formal misconduct charges against McCaffery, but a recent court ruling allows the Supreme Court to have the final say over judicial discipline.