Now that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Seamus McCaffery and J. Michael Eakin have been connected to racy emails in an ever-widening scandal, the question becomes: What next? Is exposure the end of the line, or will some kind of punishment ensue?
Chris Goodman hasn’t been in Camden very long, but already he’s seen one significant change.
“The first year I was here, there was a big memorial on the lawn of City Hall — a cross for every person murdered,” said Goodman, an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy & Administration at Rutgers-Camden; he arrived on campus two-and-a-half years ago. “It was a big deal.
And now? “That’s not there now. There’s a pop-up park.”
Camden has long been known for two things: Violence and poverty. It’s a regular stop on the “ruin porn” touring circuit for journalists chronicling America’s urban decay — just last spring Rolling Stone labeled the city “America’s Most Desperate Town” under the headline: “Apocalypse, New Jersey.”
But maybe things are turning around.
Violence is down. The bond rating is up. A supermarket just opened. The 76ers are opening a practice facility. The city is rebuilding its governing capacity after an embarrassing state takeover in 2002. There are dozens of small metrics, taken together, that suggest this small city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia may be gathering the strength to escape its reputation as one of America’s worst places.
Everything’s coming up Camden.
Known mainly for its violence and poverty, the city across the river from Philadelphia may be witnessing a recovery. Violence is down, the bond rating is up, and a grocery store has even opened. The 76ers are even making it their second home, locating their practice facilities here in exchange for a major tax break. The city is a long way from being placid and perfect, but it’s climbed beyond the depths it had sunk to just a few years ago, when the state had to take it over entirely.
Mayor Dana Redd talked to Philly Mag recently about the work that has gone into reviving her city. “Ultimately and over time, I expect to see our unemployment rate come down, I expect to see more citizens working, and to attract a middle-class base back to Camden,” she said.
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[Update 4 p.m.] Justice McCaffery has just released a statement giving his side of Eakin’s allegations:
“Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with Justice J. Michael Eakin, whom I respect as a colleague. The purpose of my call was to inform him that I was hearing strong rumors that a personal email account that belonged to him contained not only hundreds of sexually explicit emails, but – even worse – racially offensive images. In light of my own recent experience, and given the way these emails have been leaking, I expressed my concern for him, especially because of the racially-charged emails, which, as I recall, I told him I feared could bring him down.
“Although he was extremely agitated and upset, Justice Eakin told me he appreciated the call and the ‘heads-up’ and specifically lamented the fact that this whole email controversy has been Chief Justice Castille’s doing. In fact, he told me that he had written to Castille on Monday to urge him to stop putting out all of this information, but that he was certain he could not stop the Chief Justice from continuing his attacks against me.
“I unequivocally deny Justice Eakin’s allegations that I threatened or coerced him to do anything. What I did do was to try to help him prepare himself for the same kind of media onslaught that I have endured, and urged him to talk to his close, personal friend, Ronald Castille, to stop the mud-slinging that has so tarnished our Court. I unequivocally deny that I have or ever have had Justice Eakin’s personal emails, and I have never leaked anything to the media.”
[Original] The Pennsylvania porn email scandal just got even weirder.
After a report today tied a second Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, J. Michael Eakin, to pornographic emails sent to a private account, Eakin sent a statement to the state’s Judicial Conduct Board saying Justice Seamus McCaffery threatened to release those emails unless Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille rescinded his comments earlier in the week.
“The subject of much recent publicity concerning the sending of salacious emails, Justice McCaffrey next told me he ‘was not going down alone.’ Justice McCaffrey told me that I had to cause the chief justice to retract his media statements of the prior day,” the letter to the JCB read. “I told him I would not attempt to do so even if it were possible. He repeated that I had to, and that he ‘needed an answer’ by noon to prevent release of the emails involving my account.”
If you’re reading this article right now on Phillymag.com, you are probably not at risk for catching Ebola. You are likely in the area, and no one in Philadelphia has been diagnosed with the virus. But today Mayor Michael Nutter said Philadelphians are in no danger of contracting the virus right now. And he says Philly is prepared if any cases show up here.
The mayor also urged residents not to discriminate against Philadelphians from West African countries — where the outbreak has killed more than 4,500. Philadelphia has a large West African population living in Southwest Philadelphia.
50%: People mad about the boys-will-be-boys culture that allowed regular forwarding of porn emails among members of state government and even into the judiciary, setting off a civil war in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
50%: People mad at Attorney General Kathleen Kane for letting the world know about the boys-will-be-boys culture that allowed regular forwarding of porn emails among members of state government and even into the judiciary, setting off a civil war in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
After the last couple of years, Daily News writer Wendy Ruderman could’ve gone Hollywood: She won a Pulitzer, went to the New York Times, came back again, co-wrote a well-received book, and soon will see a TV show based on her exploits with reporting partner Barbara Laker and starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
Now she’s headed to City Hall.