Michigan is not alone in having a short-handed Supreme Court. AP is reporting that the trial of Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister Janine Orie has ended in the conviction of both on charges of criminal corruption. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story is here. Another sister, lawyer and former state senator Jane Orie, was previously convicted on similar charges and is serving a two-and-a-half to ten year prison sentence. A separate Post-Gazette story says that Justice Orie was suspended from the bench last May when the charges were filed against her. In August, the state's Court of Judicial Discipline approved a recommendation by the Judicial Conduct Board that the suspension be without pay. Now there will be a trial before the Court of Judicial Discipline to determine if Justice Orie Melvin violated the rules of professional conduct or the state Constitution or brought the judiciary into disrepute. Justice Orie Melvin could also be impeached by the state Legislature.
Once a vacancy officially occurs, the governor has 90 days to appoint a replacement. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is now split both by party and ideology, 3-3. Justice Orie comes from a well-known Pennsylvania Republican political family. Pennsylvania's Governor, Thomas Corbett, is a Republican. Meanwhile, says the Post-Gazette, "legal advocates are using the verdict to once again push for a change in Pennsylvania's system for electing judges."