Superior picks: Four choice nominees for a hard-working court
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The Superior Court of Pennsylvania is the court of last resort for most petitioners in the state. The court handles thousands of cases a year, both civil and criminal, on appeal from Common Pleas Courts. The 15 judges of Superior Court must not only be hard-working, but also exceptionally wise in the ways of the law.
So it is up to the voters to pick well. Two seats will be filled in the November election, so Democrats and Republicans will nominate two candidates each in the May 15 primary. Seven Democrats are on the ballot, while three Republicans are seeking their party's nod.
On the Democratic side are attorney Timothy J. McCormick of Hempfield, the solicitor of Greensburg; Common Pleas Judge James Murray Lynn, Common Pleas Judge John Milton Younge and Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon III, all of Philadelphia. Our endorsements for the Democrats, however, go to attorney Christine L. Donohue of Point Breeze and Common Pleas Judge Ronald W. Folino of Fox Chapel.
Ms. Donohue, 54, the daughter of a coal miner and a seamstress, is a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law and has been an accomplished attorney specializing in commercial litigation for leading firms in Pittsburgh. She has been active both in organizations of lawyers and on boards in the community. Ms. Donohue has also acted in a quasi-judicial role as a member of the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. She is rated "highly recommended" by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Her combination of extensive legal experience and humble roots make for an outstanding nominee.
Judge Folino, 53, has sat on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for more than 13 years, where he has earned high marks from his colleagues. In a 2004 survey of all local judges conducted by the Allegheny County Bar Association, he was rated first in impartiality, third in legal ability, second in diligence and first in temperament. A graduate of Penn State University and the Dickinson School of Law, Judge Folino has been rated "highly recommended" by the state bar association. Although it would be hard to guess from his dignified demeanor, a young Mr. Folino was a stand-up comic in New York City before he went to law school.
On a serious note, though, it would be hard to nominate a candidate with more depth and integrity.
We also put in a good word for another strong candidate, Anne Lazarus, 54, who has served for 15 years as a Common Pleas judge in Philadelphia and also comes "highly recommended" by the state bar. If a third seat were available, she would have been our choice.
Republican voters have Common Pleas Judge Bruce Bratton of Dauphin County on their ballot, along with our endorsed candidates Common Pleas Judge Cheryl L. Allen of Hampton and attorney Jacqueline O. Shogan of Murrysville.
Judge Allen, 59, has been a member of Allegheny County Common Pleas Court since 1990, and before that was a lawyer with agencies such as Neighborhood Legal Services, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the county law department. She spent a dozen years in Juvenile Court, which spurred her to become very involved in community service to help children and families.
A graduate of Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Judge Allen now sits on the bench in criminal division. In 2003, she ran unsuccessfully for Supreme Court as a Democrat but changed her registration afterward because she felt her views were better reflected by the Republican Party. She is an outstanding candidate who is rated "highly recommended" by the state bar.
For her commitment to families alone, Judge Allen deserves the nomination.
Ms. Shogan, 53, is a second-career lawyer, but her first career is relevant to service on Superior Court, which hears a lot of medical-related cases. She received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Temple University and later a master's in nursing at the University of Virginia. She spent 12 years as a clinician, clinical nurse specialist and clinical instructor at several teaching hospitals. She was also on the faculty at Duquesne University's School of Nursing.
She returned to school to study law and obtained her degree from Duke University School of Law in 1990. She practiced for eight years in the areas of civil litigation, health law and administrative law. Ms. Shogan then served an excellent apprenticeship for appellate court work by working four years as an attorney on the staff of U.S. District Court Judge Maurice Cohill. She is now back with a major Pittsburgh law firm and is rated "recommended" by the state bar association.
Jacqueline Shogan's breadth of experience -- in the law, in medicine and in federal court -- give her unique credentials for the nomination.
First Published May 1, 2007 10:00 pm