Saylor to Head Pa. Supreme Court

Takes over for Ronald Castille, who has hit retirement age.

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Justice Thomas Saylor will take over as chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Jan 6, replacing Ronald Castille, who has hit the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Saylor’s rise comes at the end of a troubled time for the court. Justice Joan Orie Melvin left after being convicted of using taxpayer-funded staff for political reasons; Justice Seamus McCaffery retired after a long feud with Castille culminated in his suspension after revelations he exchanged pornographic emails with members of the state attorney general’s office.

“It’s certainly not what you want to see written about the judiciary or what you want to read about the judiciary,” Saylor told the Associated Press. “Aspirationally and ideally, the only thing you want to read about the court, the Supreme Court, is its decision in a high visibility court. So yeah, it’s been a rough time.”

AP adds: “The chief justice collects a few thousand dollars more in salary, plays the lead role in assigning opinions, handles an array of administrative duties and serves as the public face of the state court system.”