Tomorrow is Election Day, and as I have spent more time than the average bear with all the judge candidates, I offer my perspective. I’m always impressed and inspired by the judges that run for office in Philly. They are usually deeply committed public servants and it’s hard to say which ones are right for this time and place.
If there is any doubt that judges have the capacity to make positive change, then look at those who have fought the Trump travel ban on the federal level.
Here’s three I recommend, in case you haven’t had time to look into it:
Dan and his family have devoted their practice to healing families and getting women out of domestic abuse situations. He is one of the only judge candidates endorsed by Philadelphia NOW and I am proud to support and campaign for him. He was appointed by Gov. Wolf to his seat last year (this election is a retention election) and is also endorsed by Liberty City, AFSCME and all the other local heroes.
Mark B. Cohen for Court of Common Pleas – Usually you have to guess at the political leanings of judge candidates – not so with Mark. As a Democratic state rep., Mark had the commitment to social justice that we all wish the national Democratic party still had. His exhaustive Wikipedia page spells out everything he’s ever stood for, and it’s a laundry list of every fight against oppression: raising the minimum wage, protecting labor against GOP tactics, advancing civil rights, reforming the criminal justice system through drug law reform, and more. He was awarded a “Hero for the Environment” award from PennEnvironment for his 100 percent voting record.
Ellen Ceisler for Commonwealth Court – If you don’t know Ellen, you should. She is remarkable. She’s been on the municipal bench for ten years and is now the first woman to run for statewide Commonwealth court since the last century! There are a lot of reasons I recommend her, but here are two reason: for eight years, Ellen was director and deputy director of the Office of Integrity and Accountability at the Philadelphia Police Dept., a concern very much in the news. After that, she then served as the Director of the Special Investigations Unit of the Philadelphia City Controller’s Office where she initiated and oversaw investigations into municipal waste and fraud. Apparently, she doesn’t take easy jobs.
Here’s a nifty graphic about why Commonwealth Court is important – she’ll be up in November too in the general.