Thursday, September 20, 2007

Off the hook. Re casting the call for "NO" votes on Judge Orie Melvin

Orie Melvin Removed from 'Vote No' List

PACleanSweep today removed Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin from its list of judges for Pennsylvanians to reject for retention at the November 6 election.

The move was in response to documentation the organization received yesterday from Judge Orie Melvin showing she has returned $14,402.55 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The figure represents the after-tax amount Orie Melvin received under the Act 44 pay raise during the years 2005, 2006 and through the end of 2007.

"We believe Judge Orie Melvin has done everything in her power to personally reject the judicial swindle," said PACleanSweep chair Russ Diamond. "We cannot hold her responsible for taxes deducted by government entities and we're inclined to believe she did her best in determining the net payback figure. We've been provided a worksheet which calculates the taxes withheld from a gross amount of $24,502.47.

"We challenge every other judge in the Commonwealth to follow suit and make good on their oaths of office. Only then should Pennsylvanians engage in debate regarding their rulings, opinions and decisions."

Orie Melvin sent a check and a letter of explanation to state Treasurer Robin Weissmann on August 2, 2007. The hand-written letter stated the amount returned was "reimbursement for Act 44 judicial pay raise which includes 2005 (July 8, 2005 - November 16, 2005), 2006, and 2007 (through December 31)."

The Treasury Department confirmed receipt of the amount and noted it would be deposited in the Commonwealth's General Fund in a letter to Orie Melvin dated August 15, 2007.

"We're glad to see at least one member of the judicial branch willing to take personal action in an effort to support, obey and defend the Constitution. PACleanSweep sincerely thanks Judge Orie Melvin for making a stand for the ultimate will of the people," Diamond added. "We look forward to the discussion of her record on the bench."

2007 Retention Candidate List

What YOU Need to Do on November 6th

Top Ten Reasons to Vote 'No'

PACleanSweep Judicial Retention Poll Results

Pennsylvania's Judicial Retention System

About PACleanSweep

PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to reforming state government in Pennsylvania. For more information, please visit


Anonymous said...

John K. says: You know you ought to calm down a bit on this throw all the judges out campaign. Some of these folks have no part, nor do they condone any part, of what this legislature does.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Calm down. Right.

John, you can go back to sleep if you wish.

Prove what you post.

And, there was ONE who got spared. So, what you ask had already been done.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Prove what I post? You already did that for me with Judge Orie. Remember, Robespierre was himself consumed by the mob and marched to the guilotine.

Anonymous said...


Lawyer David R. Fine's opinion criticizing PACleanSweep's efforts
regarding the upcoming judicial retention elections couldn't have
been more ironic.

Fine blasted our organization for not considering a judge's record on
the bench and held up Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin as an
example of how judges' hands are tied on the pay raise matter. He
claimed Orie Melvin tried to reject the pay raise but couldn't. He
also claimed the same applies to every other judge in the Commonwealth.

Now that Judge Orie Melvin has repaid her share of the pay raise to the people of Pennsylvania, will Fine join us in calling on every
other judge to do so? Now that we are encouraging citizens to examine
Judge Orie Melvin's record on the bench, will he issue a retraction?

We doubt he'll do either.

The Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association have similarly blasted PACleanSweep for its position. We ask why these groups are not addressing the very troubling constitutional issues behind the pay raise?

Every judge in the Commonwealth took this oath of office: "I do
solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the
Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this
Commonwealth and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity."

Allegiance to the Constitution comes first. At the very least, it is equal to a judge's duties on the bench. Why has Fine and the rest of
the legal community completely ignored this part of a judge's job in making retention recommendations? We find this highly irresponsible.

If we cannot trust judges to take a stand for the Constitution – the
very rules We the People have laid out for judges and other elected
officials to follow – how can we possibly trust them to sit in
judgment on other matters of law and our fellow citizens?

Only after a judge has demonstrated a personal commitment to the
highest law of the land should we examine the rest of their record.
Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin has done that and PACleanSweep applauds her for it. We look forward to the discussion of her record on the bench.

Russ Diamond, Chair