Voters will pick a replacement for Thomas Saylor later this year in a statewide election.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Monday he will relinquish that title to a colleague in a few months but stay on the court until his full retirement at year’s end.

Chief Justice Thomas Saylor said the position of chief justice will be filled by Justice Max Baer on April 1.

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Saylor has been the chief justice for six years. The court currently has a 5-2 Democratic majority, with Saylor and Justice Sallie Mundy the two Republicans.

Voters will pick a replacement for Saylor later this year in a statewide election. Baer will become chief justice because Saylor’s departure will make him the court’s senior jurist.

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Baer, 73, a Democrat and former Allegheny County judge, was first elected to the state high court in 2003. He will hit mandatory retirement at the end of next year.

Saylor, 74, a resident of Camp Hill, has been on the court for 23 years, writing an estimated 400 main opinions.

Saylor was born in Meyersdale and has worked as a Somerset County prosecutor, for the attorney general’s office and in private practice. He was elected to state Superior Court in 1993.

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