The full 50-member state Senate this past weekend unanimously confirmed Superior
Court President Judge Correale Stevens to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The move came just days after the Senate Judiciary Committee also gave its unanimous approval to appoint Stevens, a former trial judge, county prosecutor and state legislator, to the open seat on the high court that was left vacant following the resignation of Joan Orie Melvin, a disgraced former justice who left the bench amid a scandal that ended with her being convicted of public corruption.
Stevens, who prides himself on having made the state judiciary more public-friendly through various initiatives including a more robust web presence and holding court sessions at law schools and on high school and college campuses, is expected to be sworn into office later this month according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
Stevens is expected to serve on the high court through January 2016.
The Patriot-News reported that Stevens would be earning $193,425 annually as a Supreme Court justice.
Stevens, a Republican, will return the bench to a 4-3 GOP majority.
In a prepared statement, state Sen. John Yudichak, a Democrat representing parts of Luzerne, Carbon and Monroe Counties, praised the Senate’s confirmation of Stevens to the high court, saying Stevens’ “judicial temperament and acumen make him uniquely qualified – if not the most qualified jurist in recent memory to be confirmed to serve on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Throughout his impressive career as a public official, Judge Stevens has shown an unmatched commitment to the fair and impartial administration of justice – a commitment that will only strengthen our state Supreme Court.”
Yudichak, who represents Stevens’ home county of Luzerne, where the soon-to-be-installed justice once served as district attorney, said in his statement that while he and the jurist share different political views, the two also share a “common belief that public service is paramount to partisan pursuits. I am proud to call Judge Stevens a friend and I applaud my colleagues and the administration for getting it right and confirming an outstanding jurist like Judge Stevens to the state’s highest court.”
In his own statement released by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille called Stevens a “great appointment” to the high court due to the judge’s “wealth of experience from the executive and legislative branches and from his recent service as president judge of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court.
“The transition to the Supreme Court will be difficult because it is a different court than the one he has been serving, and the learning curve will be long and steep,” Castille stated. “But I know Judge Stevens will approach his new assignment with the same commitment and determination that he has brought to all of his professional challenges.
My colleagues and I welcome him to the Supreme Court bench.”