Attorney, judge seek Superior Court post

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HARRISBURG -- In the only statewide race on the November ballot, voters will select a new judge for the state's Superior Court -- Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jack McVay or Vic Stabile, a Harrisburg-area attorney.

Mr. McVay, a Democrat from Shadyside, has been a Common Pleas judge since 2008. He previously served as an assistant Allegheny County solicitor from 1998 until 2007; he also worked as an assistant city solicitor for the city of Pittsburgh and was Allegheny County Housing Authority general counsel.

Mr. McVay ran unsuccessfully for Commonwealth Court in 1995 and 1997; Mr. Stabile ran for Superior Court unsuccessfully in 2011.

Mr. Stabile, 56, a Republican who resides in Cumberland County, graduated from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and Dickinson Law School in Carlisle in 1982. Since 1987, he has worked at the law firm of Dilworth Paxson, where he has been a partner since 1992. He handles cases involving contracts, commercial and business litigation matters, tax cases and real estate cases, he said. He began his career as an appellate court clerk in Commonwealth Court, and also served in the attorney general's office, litigating on behalf of state agencies.

He pledged he would not "legislate from the bench."

"These are ... the people's courts of Pennsylvania," Mr. Stabile said. "They're there to serve the people. They're not there to serve an individual's personal philosophy, politics, biases or anything else like that."

Mr. McVay, 57, said he would use his knowledge as a trial court judge, if elected.

"The Superior Court reviews the discretion and decisions made by the trial court judge, which is what I am. ... I would bring that experience to the Superior Court."

As one of two state-level appellate courts, the Superior Court is often the final arbiter of many cases. A three-judge panel usually hears cases in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Harrisburg.

Both men were rated "recommended" by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, a mid-level ranking below "highly recommended" but above "not recommended."

The bar association said Mr. McVay "is recognized for his diligence, excellent temperament and willingness to employ unique solutions in matters that come before him. While the Candidate has limited experience before the appellate courts ... he has the legal ability, experience, integrity and judicial temperament to perform satisfactorily on the Superior Court."

The association noted Mr. Stabile "has strong writing skills, administrative ability and experience in handling cases in the appellate courts. He is held in high regard by his peers, who have noted his intellect, strong work ethic and integrity. He also serves as a township supervisor and has an exemplary record of pro bono and community service."

Mr. McVay defeated Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joe Waters in the May primary for the Democratic nomination.

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Kate Giammarise: or 717-787-4254. Twitter: @KateGiammarise. First Published October 19, 2013 8:00 PM


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