Editor's Note: This story originally ran on Nov. 28, 2012.
Long-simmering tension between the two Philadelphians on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court - Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille and Justice Seamus McCaffery - has flared into outright acrimony following the unauthorized disclosure of a report that details widespread ticket-fixing at the city's Traffic Court.
McCaffery is enraged over the leaking of the report, which was commissioned by Castille and strongly suggests that McCaffery fixed a ticket given to his wife, numerous sources close to him and Castille say.
"The blowback has been ferocious," said one person with direct knowledge of the rift prompted by disclosure of the report.
McCaffery, these sources say, blames Castille for the leak. "By all accounts, he is outraged," one said, referring to McCaffery.
Castille declined to comment Tuesday. McCaffery did not respond to a request for an interview.
The report, obtained last week by The Inquirer, concludes that Traffic Court judges and staff routinely fixed tickets for people with the right political connections.
The inquiry was conducted by a team led by William G. Chadwick, a criminal-justice consultant who served as Castille's top deputy when the latter was Philadelphia district attorney.
Besides raising questions about McCaffery, the report quoted Traffic Court staff as saying that the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, chairman of the Democratic City Committee in Philadelphia, often requested "special consideration" in dealing with tickets.
In an interview Wednesday, Brady said that he, too, was upset, and criticized Chadwick.
"To me, it looks like he was trying to juice up a report by putting my name in it," Brady said. "And I'm offended."
He said he had recently met with Philadelphia lawyer Richard A. Sprague to discuss possible legal action against Chadwick. Brady also complained that Chadwick failed to seek his comment for the report.
As he did last week, Brady again denied that he or his staff fixed tickets.
"I met with every person in the office and asked them," Brady said. "They said they didn't do that."
All his staff did, he said, was connect people with lawyers to help them argue their cases in Traffic Court.
Chadwick declined to respond to Brady's complaints, saying only, "I stand by the contents of the report."
Chadwick's team was paid about $400,000 in public funds to investigate Traffic Court and draft the report.
Castille pushed for the review after the FBI raided the chambers and homes of Traffic Court judges and staff in September 2011 as part of an ongoing grand-jury probe.
McCaffery has made little secret of his desire to replace Castille as the high court's liaison with the Philadelphia court system, with oversight over Common Pleas Court, Municipal Court, Traffic Court, and more.
Under Castille's predecessor as chief justice, Ralph Cappy, Castille served as liaison to the courts. When Castille became chief justice in 2008, he held onto the post.
For McCaffery, the post of liaison would represent a major increase in clout. It would give him control over policy as well as judicial assignments and all hirings, firings, and promotions.
The liaison's position might also be the only way for him to accrue more power. McCaffery, 62, has little chance of becoming chief justice because, under the state constitution, seniority determines who rises to that post. Numerous other justices have more years on the court than McCaffery.
Currently, the court has six members, three Republicans and three Democrats. The court this year suspended the seventh justice, Joan Orie Melvin, after she was charged with illegally using staff for political campaigning.
Castille, a Republican, and McCaffery, a Democrat, have been partners for three years in a push to overhaul how the Philadelphia criminal courts handle cases. Chadwick's team serves as consultant on that initiative as well.
The two justices united over the reform initiative after The Inquirer reported in 2009 that Philadelphia had the lowest conviction rate for violent crimes among major American cities.
For McCaffery, the overhaul represented an opportunity to carry out changes he had tried to implement when he served as administrative judge of Philadelphia Municipal Court. A former Philadelphia homicide detective, McCaffery has been a leading critic of the city courts, long arguing that the system gives short shrift to victims and witnesses. His sharp criticism and blunt manner have made him unpopular among some in the court system.For Castille, the campaign to fix Philadelphia's courts - as well as his effort to expose wrongdoing in Traffic Court - are also seen as an attempt to build a legacy for himself as he approaches the end of his long run on the high court.
Castille, now 68, who joined the court in 1994, faces mandatory retirement at the end of 2014. He is up for reelection next year, but has not yet announced whether he will run.
Bruce Ledewitz, a law professor at Duquesne University and an expert on the Pennsylvania's appellate courts, said the falling out of the two justices could have greater ramifications.
While judges may vigorously debate legal questions, Ledewitz said, good will among the justices is key to having "a real civility, which allows you to compromise and have civil discussions."
In the past, he noted, the Pennsylvania high court has been notorious for ugly personal schisms.
At such times, he said, judges had differences that were "always nonideological, not having to do with the law at all."
"It was always personal," he said. "Which was the worst of all."