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Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend


Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend

Mar 25, 2023 | 6:30 am ET
By Cassie Miller
Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend

Happy Weekend, all.

Earlier this month, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), shared data about the number of women currently serving in Pennsylvania’s judiciary system.

Here’s a look at the numbers:

According to AOPC, 32% of Pennsylvania’s active judges are women.

Three of the current six justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court are women, including Chief Justice Debra Todd, Justice Christine Donohue, and Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy.

Chief Justice Debra Todd is the first woman in the state Supreme Court’s 300-year history to serve as chief justice, a post she assumed in January after the death of former-Chief Justice Max Baer in September.

In a February statement, Todd celebrated the women leading Pennsylvania’s state government, Senate Pro Tempore Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, and House Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, saying, “For the first time in Pennsylvania history, women are rising to the highest levels of leadership.

“While we celebrate our collective achievements, we also pause to remember those who came before us; their strength propelled us to break through the glass ceiling and continues to drive women to new heights,” Todd said. “When strong and determined women support one another and strive for success, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

Women also make up the majority of judges serving on both the Superior Court (71%) and Commonwealth Court (88%).

As always, the top five stories from this week are below.

Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend
Looming large over proceedings (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images/The Conversation).

1. What happens if Trump is charged or convicted because of Jan. 6 referrals? | Opinion

The criminal referral of Donald Trump to the Department of Justice by a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack is largely symbolic – the panel itself has no power to prosecute any individual.

Nonetheless, the recommendation that Trump be investigated for four potential crimes – obstructing an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to make a false statement; and inciting, assisting or aiding or comforting an insurrection – raises the prospect of an indictment, or even a conviction, of the former president.

It also poses serious ethical questions, given that Trump has already announced a 2024 run for the presidency, especially in regards to the referral over his alleged inciting or assisting an insurrection. Indeed, a Department of Justice investigation over Trump’s activities during the insurrection is already under way.

Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend
Lincoln University (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

2. Pa. House lawmakers ask state-related university leaders to justify proposed funding growth

Lawmakers probed the workings of Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities in a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, asking the institutions’ presidents to define the value taxpayers receive for their contributions to the schools’ bottom lines.

Penn State, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple University and Lincoln universities  would receive a 7.1% increase in state funding, which has remained level for the past four years, under Gov. Josh Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget proposal.

That’s a 5% greater increase than Shapiro has proposed for the 10 state-owned universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend
Adam Jentleson (L), chief of staff to U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa. (R), meets with Fetterman at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday, 3/6/23 (Photo via Twitter).

3. As Pa.’s Fetterman nears return to Senate, voters have stayed supportive

U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa. is reportedly nearing the end of his hospital stay and an expected return to the Senate. After suffering a stroke last year during the campaign, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed Medical Center in mid-February for treatment of clinical depression.

In recent weeks, Fetterman has been issuing statements through his staff and joining legislation, including a bill meant to prevent future derailments such as the one last month in Palestine, Ohio.

His chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, posted a photo of himself meeting with Fetterman in the hospital to Twitter, tweeting that the senator “is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He’s laser focused on PA & will be back soon.”

Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference at Pinellas County schools, Aug. 11, 2021. (Credit: Gov. DeSantis Facebook/The Florida Phoenix).
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference at Pinellas County schools, Aug. 11, 2021. (Credit: Gov. DeSantis Facebook/The Florida Phoenix).

4. Ron DeSantis talks tough to Disney, but is a Putin appeaser | Dick Polman

Nobody these days is happier with Ron DeSantis than Vladimir Putin, who now has two horses in the 2024 Republican race: Trump (naturally) and a coward who talks tough to Disney but quakes at the prospect of confronting a genocidal thug.

Women of Pa.’s judiciary system | Five for the Weekend
What is the origin of Easter eggs? (Katie Morrow, CC BY-NC-ND/The Conversation)

5. Why Easter is called Easter, and other little-known facts about the holiday | Analysis

The date of Easter, when the resurrection of Jesus is said to have taken place, changes from year to year.

The reason for this variation is that Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.

I am a religious studies scholar specializing in early Christianity, and my research shows that this dating of Easter goes back to the complicated origins of this holiday and how it has evolved over the centuries.

And that’s the week. We’ll see you back here next week.