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Disorder on the Pa. Supreme Court

Maryland had its own case of punishment for judicial misconduct Tuesday, but we have nothing on our neighbors above the Mason-Dixon Line.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday voted to suspend Justice Seamus P. McCaffery “in connection with an email porn scandal and other allegations of misconduct,” according to Reuters.

The per curiam order states McCaffrey admitted to “exchanging hundreds of sexually explicit emails with officials in the Attorney General’s office,” emails that were discovered during the investigation into the prosecution of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky.

McCaffery also is alleged to have improperly contacted a Philadelphia traffic court in order to help his wife with a ticket, as well as authorizing his wife — when she was working as his assistant — to accept “hundreds of thousands of dollars in referral fees” from plaintiffs’ firms.

As if that were not enough, a fellow justice, J. Michael Eakin, submitted a report to the Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board alleging McCaffery told him to urge Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille to retract a report on the explicit emails or “materials embarrassing to Justice Eakin would be released to the media.”

McCaffery has accused Castille of being “vindictive” and pursuing a “cooked-up controversy” in an effort to remove McCaffery from the bench.

Castille, in a concurring opinion to McCaffery’s suspension, fired back:

Justice McCaffery is correct in one of his allegations against me. I have been attempting to remove Justice McCaffery from this Court. In my two decades of experience on this Court, no other Justice… has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute. No other Justice has failed to live up to the high ethical demands required of a Justice of this Court or has been the constant focus of ethical lapses to the degree of Justice McCaffery.

McCaffery will remain suspended until it is determined whether the Judicial Conduct Board decides to bring formal charges against him. Castille, in his concurring opinion, wrote he would have left the investigation up to an outside fact-finder.

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