I'm being as charitable as possible when I say to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
(Or rename the paper. Oh, I don't know, something like "Trib Lite.")
Last week the P-G endorsed Lil Mayor Luke for the first time ever and now this week they've endorsed Judge Joan Orie Melvin, a Republican from Western PA, over Judge Jack A. Panella, a Democrat from Eastern PA.
In their endorsement, the P-G says:
Both have risen through the legal ranks, both have had distinguished careers and both are ranked highly recommended by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. In truth, either one would make an excellent Supreme Court justice.So why do they give the nod to Orie Melvin? They chalk it up to wanting a judge from the West and say that they're "strike[ing] a small but important blow for gender balance by keeping the number of female justices at two."
Now anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I'm a feminist. They know that I've supported numerous women for office. They know that I defended Sarah Palin against those attacks that were purely sexist in nature.
That said, if it ever comes down to a male candidate who is good on issues that I care about versus a female candidate who isn't so hot on the issues, I have to go with the candidate who I agree with -- regardless of their gender -- every time.
So how does Judge Orie Melvin stack up on the issues? (And, yes, if you don't know already, the Judge is the sister of PA State Senator Jane Orie.)
According to the American Family Association of PA (courtesy of Sue from Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents) based on "Court Cases/Candidate Responses/Outside Sources" Orie Melvin is anti choice, anti gay, anti separation of Church and State and believes that Antonin Scalia is the Supreme Court Judge who most closely demonstrates her judicial philosophy.
Wow, P-G! Are you auditioning to become the Trib?
And, since half of the P-G's reasoning is based on gender, how exactly has Orie Melvin ruled on behalf of the distaff set?
Again from Sue, we know that Orie Melvin had no problem with a physician having sex with a woman he was treating for anxiety and depression which caused his patient’s psychological/emotional symptoms to worsen.
We also know this from the Pittsburgh City Paper:
He cites the 2007 case Toney v. Chester County Hospital, in which a pregnant woman received an ultrasound and was told her baby was fine. Opting for natural childbirth, she gave birth to a child with multiple severe disabilities. She wanted to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress, but her suit was challenged. Panella and the Superior Court majority ruled that the case could go forward. (Her case will be heard by the state Supreme Court Dec. 2.) Orie Melvin was one of two dissenters.Let me decode that for you. In the first case someone who, let's say, is very anti choice and is funded by anti choicers would not want to think that any birth is anything other than a blessing from God. They also might think that the misread ultrasound was also a blessing because it might prevent a woman from making a truly informed decision about continuing her pregnancy.
Orie Melvin won't comment on the case, but counters Panella's example with another pregnancy case. In that suit, in which a mother alleged that an HMO's advice delayed her access to care, Orie Melvin voted to reverse a lower-court ruling that would have tossed the case out.
Surely all this is enough to make many not want to vote for Orie Melvin, but wait, there's more.
There's also the issue of redistricting (which is why this race is getting even minimal attention).
Also from the City Paper:
From a partisan standpoint, there's another big issue at stake in this election: redistricting. After each U.S. Census, the state's new population figures force the legislature to change the boundaries of election districts, for Congressional seats and for both branches of the state legislature. The party in power often gets to redraw the map, with results that typically shore up their political advantage.How can we expect the "genial and fair-minded" Orie Melvin to rule with respect to any possible redistricting matters? From Gort42 (via Spork by way of Crooks and Liars):
The state Supreme Court often appoints the last member of the five-person redistricting panel -- and the court may also rule on the fairness of those lines once drawn. After the 1990 district revamp, for example, 25 cases were filed against the plan in the state Supreme Court.
Democrats believe the court's choice in 2000 helped gerrymander U.S. House districts in the GOP's favor. The U.S. Supreme Court -- in a ruling that divided justices along party lines -- eventually ruled against the Democrats. State political observers are bracing for more such fights, especially since the state is likely to lose at least one Congressional seat after the 2010 Census.
In her previous visit to Wilkes-Barre in May she gave a long rambling speech to the local GOP faithful. In that speech she listed as one of her selling points was the upcoming redistricting after the 2010 Census telling the partisan crowd that they needed a Republican on the court to rule in favor of Republicans in any challenges to whatever plan emerges.And, if all that wasn't enough, there's this web ad which was running on GrassrootsPA and which was paid for by the PA GOP:
So much for Judges being above politics.
The ad fliped from the above to a blue banner that said, "Hit them where it hurts. The voting booth! On Nov. 3rd, Vote for Supreme Court candidate Joan Orie Melvin and your Republican judicial ticket."
The ad has since been modified (no more mention of Obama or the hammer and sickle ☭) and Orie Melvin certainly did not put up the ad herself BUT, it is her party who ran the ad and it is the party that she represents.
At this point, you have to ask yourself how much of this did the P-G know when they vetted and endorsed Orie Melvin?
Now that you know all about her, I suggest you go directly to http://votejackpanella.com and donate whatever you can and vote for him on election day.
This race is extremely close. PA doesn't need our own Scalia on our Supreme Court -- even if she's a she from Pittsburgh.