Earlier this week, I had the good fortune to chat with Rosemary Crawford, candidate for Judge for the Court of Common Pleas.
I suspect that as a student Crawford was always (ALWAYS!) well prepared and I say this because as soon as I sat down, she had a pile of stuff for me to peruse; news clippings, a resume, a few proclamations from Pittsburgh City Council and the State Senate praising her work, the ACBA letter letting her know she was rated "Highly Recommended" by the Judiciary Committee - you know the usual stuff from someone really really accomplished.
A Georgetown Law grad with 25 years experience as an attorney, she's currently a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustee for the Western District of Pennsylvania. In doing that job, she says, she's gained some tools that would be very useful for a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas; conflict resolution, for one, also the ability to deal respectfully with people who are at, possibly, the lowest point in their lives - bankruptcy. She's also got a huge list of organizations endorsing her.
One thing she did say that was highly important to her view that judges should be fair, is cultural competence. Crawford defined it as knowing that regardless of race income, etc all people are human beings and are the same - but it's also a recognition of the cultural backgrounds of different people.
And for that, it's important for her that for there be diversity on the Court of Common Pleas. She was disappointed, for example, that the Allegheny Count Democratic Committee failed to endorse anyone who wasn't a straight white male.
To flesh this part out, there were three candidates endorsed by the ACDC:
- P.J. Murray
- Dan Regan
- William F. Caye
- Rosemary Crawford
- Jennifer Staley McCrady
- Hugh McGough
- Daniel Regan
- Richard Schubert
For her, it's also a little more personal. She said that she didn't want to bring race into the issue but that they already are. When I asked who the "they" was she said that members of the "executive and legislative branches" told her that while they felt that she was the most qualified candidate, they wouldn't support her because, they added, African-Americans don't vote.
She came across in our chat as intensely intelligent and committed to justice.