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Statewide Judges Get Party Endorsement To Run For High Court

Matt Rourke
The sign for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is posted by its door at City Hall in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

Pennsylvania's two major political parties have endorsed statewide appellate court judges to run in this year's election for an open state Supreme Court seat, perhaps the highest-profile contest that will be on the state's ballot in 2021.

In state party committee meetings over the weekend, Republicans endorsed Kevin Brobson, the president judge of the Commonwealth Court. Democrats endorsed Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin.

The primary election is May 18 and March 9 is the deadline to file paperwork to get on the ballot.

The seat is open because the state Supreme Court’s chief justice, Thomas Saylor, is turning 75 this year, the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age, and must retire. The departure of Saylor, a Republican, won't tilt the court's partisan balance. Democrats currently have a 5-2 majority, and Justice Max Baer, a Pittsburgh Democrat, is in line to become the next chief justice.

Brobson, 50, of Harrisburg, was first elected in 2009.

He got his law degree from Widener University's law school in Harrisburg before spending 13 years at the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney law firm before getting elected.

McLaughlin, 54, of Philadelphia, was first elected to the Superior Court in 2017. She received her law degree from Widener University's law school in Delaware, and served as a prosecutor for 19 years in Philadelphia, spending the last nine years as a chief district attorney.

She was elected to be a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge in 2011, where she served until she joined Superior Court.

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