The Law and Government Institute
sponsored a debate between two candidates for Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court on Thursday, October 20th. The candidates, Democrat Kathryn Boockvar and Republican Ann Covey, discussed a variety of topics for over an hour in room A180 on the Harrisburg campus.
The Pennsylvania Cable Network covered the event, and Capitolwire reporter Peter DeCoursey and Professor John L. Gedid
, the Director of the Law & Government Institute, posed topics for the candidates to discuss.
Professor Gedid posed the first question asking the candidates to distinguish qualities that a judge must possess and what actions in their careers demonstrate that they have those qualities. Boockvar stated that every judicial position requires integrity and the ability to keep an open mind and to listen to what everyone says without predisposed notions.
Peter DeCoursey asked the candidates how they would assure citizens that they would be fair and balanced. Ann Covey, a 1984 graduate of Widener Law, stated that when she was a law clerk for the Commonwealth Court that what the party a judge was from did not matter and that their decisions were coming from neutral ground. She explained that she would follow in their footsteps and come up with the right decision based on truth and justice.
Professor Gedid then asked the candidates to explain a judge’s role in interpreting legislation. Boockvar explained that the role of a judge is to uphold and defend the constitution, not there to create new laws but rather to apply the law. Covey agreed, saying, “A judge’s role is to respect the other two branches of government. It is not the judge’s role to legislate from the bench. It is critical the judge will look to the law and to apply it.”