We told you Tuesday night that Seamus McCaffery, the (suspended) Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice, had dropped his defamation suit against the Inky. That paper had reported on referral fees McCaffery’s wife took while he was on the bench: The case went away when the paper agreed to report that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had issued a statement clearing McCaffery of wrongdoing in the matter.
There’s a lot about the temporary removal of Justice Seamus McCaffery from the court that almost makes you want to send pornographic emails at work. He’s forbidden to work and he still gets paid? That’s the American dream! Can everyone get that deal just by sending pornographic emails?
But not everything’s great for McCaffery in this deal. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has canceled McCaffery’s state-provided Internet at his home and ordered him to turn in his state-issued computers. Not having computers or Internet in Northeast Philly basically means you live in the late ’80s.
Ron Castille and Seamus McCaffery don’t much like each other. Anybody who has paid attention to rivalries on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in recent years knows that.
But McCaffery’s Monday suspension from the court over the “Porngate” scandal was accompanied Monday by a jeremiad from Castille, the court’s chief justice, that displayed a level of enmity rarely seen in American public life anymore.
Here are five of the most dramatic statements from Castille’s Monday concurring statement, which mostly agrees with the order to suspend McCaffery from his duties while the Judicial Conduct Board investigates:
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery has been relieved of his duties while the Judicial Conduct Board conducts a fast-track investigation into his involvement in the so-called Porngate scandal in Harrisburg.
McCaffery will be paid during his time away from the court.
The order goes beyond the circumstances of Porngate, however, as the order from the Supreme Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania suggests several matters in which McCaffery’s conduct will be investigated:
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In a statement released to reporters Thursday, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery apologized for sending hundreds of pornographic emails to employees of state government.
“I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment,” McCaffery wrote. “I erred and if I offended anyone, I am truly sorry.” Yes, he did the “if I offended anyone” thing, but directly apologized and said he erred. An actual apology!
McCaffery also took the time to take a more direct shot at Ron Castille, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Castille and McCaffery have been feuding for years.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille said on Wednesday a review found Seamus McCaffery sent and received hundreds of sexually explicit emails.
Castille told reporters that, of the 2,800 emails McCaffery sent or received between 2008 and mid-2012, 234 contained pornographic images or videos. “No other Supreme Court justice was identified as having sent or received any sexually explicit emails,” a statement from Castille’s office said.
Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board will review whether State Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery violated ethics in the state’s expanding “racy email” scandal, the Inquirer reports.
The scandal has largely been focused on the attorney general’s office under then-Attorney General Tom Corbett. But citizen activist Gene Stilp filed a complaint with the board after The Morning Call reported that McCaffery sent some of the emails from his personal account. While that suggests McCaffery hasn’t run afoul of rules against such activities using state computers and resources, Stilp said that cases could be compromised by personal emails between the AG’s office and the judiciary.
The Morning Call reports this morning that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery — he’s from Philadelphia — “forwarded at least eight sexually explicit emails to an employee in the state attorney general’s office,” who in turn shared those emails with more than a dozen others.
Three of the emails the paper reviewed contained images that Attorney General Kathleen Kane shared with reporters in describing the broader burgeoning scandal last week, the paper said. She identified eight current officials who had exchanged the emails, but never mentioned McCaffery among them.
McCaffery has a defense: The emails were apparently forwarded from a now-inactive Comcast account — a personal account, in other words, not his state e-mail. Much of the controversy about the racy emails has been over whether they violate rules governing the use of state resources. Indeed, a spokesman for Kane told the paper “it is not illegal for adults to send or receive pornography depicting adults.”
“Not only do I not have any comment, since when does the news media pry into personal emails?” McCaffery told a Morning Call reporter.
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery is fighting an attempt by the Philadelphia Inquirer to get a closer look at his finances in his defamation suit against the paper.
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