Who Wants to Be a Judge in Pennsylvania?


Two Jewish Superior Court judges are among the pool of candidates competing for three seats on the state’s highest court, and a number of Jews are also vying to preside over lower courts. 

The race for seats on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania features two Jewish candidates — one of them from the Philadelphia area.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association gave high recommendations for both Jewish candidates, Superior Court Judge Anne Lazarus of Philadelphia and Superior Court Judge David Wecht from Allegheny County.

They are among the dozen candidates running for three seats on the state’s highest court in the May 19 Republican and Democrat primaries.

Lazarus, a Democrat who is a co-chair of the Gershman Y board, was appointed to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 1991 and elected to her position on the Superior Court in 2009. The Philadelphia Bar Association honored Lazarus in 2013 with its Sandra Day O’Connor award.

Wecht, also a Democrat, has served on the Common Pleas court from 2003 until he was elected and started serving on the Superior Court in 2012.

The two candidates are facing a stiff challenge from Kevin Dougherty, brother of local labor union leader John Dougherty. The candidates in the race have received more than $5 million in donations, including $1.2 million to Dougherty; $858,000 to Wecht; and $443,000 to Lazarus, according to an Associated Press report.

There are also Jewish candidates running in races for lower courts. Abbe Fletman, a Democrat who was appointed in 2014 by former Gov. Tom Corbett to fill a vacancy on the Court of Common Pleas, is now running for election to the court. The Philadelphia Bar Association gave her its “highly recommended” rating.

Jodi Lobel, a former prosecutor, is also in the race but is considered a long shot to win, according to reports. She spent 23 years in the Philadelphia district attorney’s office before resigning last year to run. The bar association rated Lobel as “recommended.”

There are 57 candidates for the Democratic nomination for 12 seats on the Common Pleas court.


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