The only statewide judicial race on Nov. 5 -- not counting retention elections -- has attracted two good candidates worthy of the voters' consideration, which is what a vacancy on Superior Court deserves.
As one of Pennsylvania's two intermediate appellate benches (the other is Commonwealth Court), Superior Court hears appeals in criminal and most civil cases from the Common Pleas level and also cases involving children and families. Its workload is large and it is often the last hope for petitioners, because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court takes only a fraction of cases for further review.
The Republican nominee is Victor P. Stabile, 56, of Middlesex in Cumberland County, who was unopposed in the May primary. Mr. Stabile, who ran unsuccessfully for this court in 2011, is a civil litigator and the managing partner of his law firm's Harrisburg office. Previously, he worked as a litigator for the state attorney general.
Mr. Stabile was also a member of the Middlesex board of supervisors and the chairman of his county's Republican Party. The Pennsylvania Bar Association, in rating him "recommended," said that he had excelled in his career and noted his strong writing skills, experience in handling appellate cases and the high regard his peers have for him.
However, his Democratic opponent, Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jack McVay Jr. also has a strong background -- the main difference being his role in court. Mr. Stabile has never been a judge. Judge McVay, 57, of Shadyside has been on the local bench since 2008 in the Family Division. While it is not essential to have been a judge to join an appellate court, such a background does recommend itself as a natural progression.
That is not Judge McVay's only credential. A Duquesne Law School graduate, he was previously an assistant county solicitor, assistant city solicitor and general counsel for the Allegheny County Housing Authority. He is also recommended by the state bar association, which said he has the legal ability, experience, integrity and judicial temperament for Superior Court despite his limited appellate experience. The county bar association gave him its highest rating: "highly recommended."
In a close call, we endorse Jack McVay Jr. for Superior Court.
First Published October 19, 2013 8:00 PM