Gov. Tom Corbett's nomination of Superior Court President Judge Correale F. Stevens to the state Supreme Court makes sense on several levels -- he has a distinguished resume, Democratic senators have reason to support him and the Supreme Court needs to fill the vacancy following the ouster of former Justice Joan Orie Melvin on public corruption charges.
Judge Stevens has been on the Superior Court since 1998 and has been president judge since 2011. A graduate of Penn State University and Dickinson School of Law, he is from Luzerne County, where he was a Common Pleas judge, district attorney, a four-term member of the state House of Representatives and solicitor for Hazleton and the Hazleton Authority.
Judge Stevens, who will turn 67 in October, was on a short list of Republican judges whom state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, the minority chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recommended to the governor.
The only blemish we see on his record is that in the past he unwisely entered the political debate on immigration, suggesting that local police and prosecutors should have a role in deporting illegal aliens. In 2007, the Post-Gazette did not endorse him for retention. But the voters had faith in him and that's old news amid other reports that he has been doing a good job.
If confirmed by a two-thirds vote in the senate, Judge Stevens will serve until January 2016, with an election to fill the vacancy permanently in November 2015. The court needs him, and sooner rather than later.