HARRISBURG - Gov. Wolf has nominated Superior Court Judge Sallie Updyke Mundy to fill a vacancy on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, left after former Justice J. Michael Eakin resigned in disgrace earlier this year because of his involvement in a pornographic email scandal.
In nominating Mundy, 53, a Republican from Tioga County, Wolf said he will depart from the long-established tradition in Pennsylvania politics of requiring his nominee to promise not to run for the judicial seat in the next election.
Instead, the Democratic governor said Monday that his nominee could seek a 10-year term on the state's highest court. The next election for the Supreme Court is next year, for a term that would begin in January 2018.
"There is no conditionality other than you have to be a qualified person with a good judicial temperament to merit the nomination," said Wolf.
Wolf tapped Mundy after consulting with Republicans who control the state Senate, whose members will have to confirm the nomination.
Mundy replaces Eakin, a Republican from Cumberland County, who resigned his seat seat on the state's highest court months after being charged with judicial ethics lapses for his involvement in the pornographic email scandal.
He was the second top jurist to step down amid revelations over the last two years that prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement officials for years exchanged pornographic and otherwise offensive emails, often using state computers. Seamus McCaffery, a Philadelphia Democrat, resigned his Supreme Court seat soon after the scandal erupted in late 2014.
If Mundy is confirmed by the Senate, the high court will be restored to its full, seven-member complement. She will be the only other Republican on the court, aside from Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, who might have to retire at the end of this year, when he will reach the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70. A question on the November ballot asks voters to increase the retirement age from 70 to 75, which would allow Saylor and another justice nearing 70 to remain on the court for five additional years.
According to a copy of her resume, Mundy was in private practice for two decades before being elected to the Superior Court in 2009. While in private practice, she focused on personal-injury cases, among other areas, according to her resume.
Aside from Mundy, Wolf on Monday also nominated two dozen people to judicial posts, including Jeffrey G. Trauger to Bucks County Court; Joseph Walsh, Montgomery County Court, and Stella Tsai, Vincent Furlong, Daniel Sulman, Lucretia Clemons, Roger Gordon and Vincent Melchiorre to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.