The Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again has a full complement of seven justices after
the swearing-in Tuesday of its newest member, Correale F. Stevens.
Stevens, who most recently served as the president judge of the state Superior Court, one of two intermediate appellate benches beneath the high court, was sworn in Justice Stevens in his native Luzerne County, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
Federal, state and local judges reportedly attended the ceremony, which took place at the Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
“We on the court expect and know he will do a good job on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania,” Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille said in a statement.
Stevens, a Republican, had recently been nominated by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to fill the high court vacancy created by the departure of Joan Orie Melvin, who is serving out a house arrest sentence after being convicted on public corruption charges.
Orie Melvin, of the western part of the state, was convicted of using her then-Superior Court staff to work on her campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court, to which she was subsequently elected.
Stevens, won unanimous state Senate confirmation two weeks after his nomination by the governor, is a former state representative who also served as Luzerne County Common Pleas Court judge and worked for a time as the district attorney of that county, which is located in northeastern Pennsylvania.
In a statement issued back in June, Stevens thanked Corbett for the nomination and said he was looking forward to serving on the high court.
“It would become an exciting opportunity for me to continue my judicial career in that capacity …,” Stevens said at the time. “Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to serve on the Superior Court with four of the six current Supreme Court Justices and consider all six personal friends, and if confirmed, the transition between courts should go well.”
Stevens, a graduate of Penn State University and the Dickinson School of Law, was elected to the Superior Court in 1997.
He was chosen by his colleagues to serve as president judge of that bench in 2011.
Stevens is known for his dedication toward public transparency, creating a roving program in which Superior Court sessions would play out on law school and high school campuses across the commonwealth, and helping to beef up the Superior Court’s website.
Stevens also teaches criminal justice and American government courses at Penn State and regularly participates in continuing legal education programs for state lawyers.