HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday nominated the dean of Duquesne University Law School and the president judge of Centre County to fill two vacancies on Pennsylvania’s highest court.
Wolf, a Democrat, announced his choices of Duquesne’s Ken Gormley and Judge Thomas Kistler to complete terms of two former justices that run through the end of this year.
They would replace Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 last year, and Justice Seamus McCaffery, who resigned last year after being implicated in a pornographic email scandal.
Both Gormley, a Democrat, and Kistler, a Republican, will require approval by at least a two-thirds majority of the Republican-controlled Senate, although the governor said his choices resulted from “a collaborative process involving leaders from the Senate.”
The two men will receive support from leaders of both parties, said Jennifer Kocher, a spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Jake Corman. They were recommended to Wolf after Corman discussed the matter with Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, Kocher said.
Both nominees agreed not to seek a full 10-year term, she said.
In 1994, Gormley joined the Duquesne faculty in Pittsburgh. He also is a professor specializing in constitutional matters. He previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh Law School and worked as a private lawyer. He is a lifelong Pittsburgh resident and graduate of Harvard Law School.
Kistler was elected to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas in 1997. As president judge, he helped create the Centre County Child Access Center, which provides a place for the safe exchange of children in separated or divorced families where domestic violence has occurred. He has a law degree from Dickinson Law School.
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