Friday, November 04, 2005

Others think otherwise on No for Newman

My recent email blast generated some welcomed feedback, as expected. Some good and some bad -- but all of it welcomed. The most interesting exchange, so far, came from Rob Keenan III, (C. Robert) who is with email as crkeenan -at- dmcpc -dot- com.
Dear Mark,

I don't believe we have met, although I have been entertained by your libertarian e-mails for awhile now. Allow me to introduce myself.

I'm a lawyer who's been practicing for over 26 years. In addition to the usual legal practice, I have also represented law-abiding gun owners against the gun grabbers. I also represented pro-lifers (successfully) in 1994 when powerful special interests attempted to purge them from the primary election ballot. Before I was a lawyer, I was a county chairman for Ronald Reagan in 1976.

My conservative credentials run wide and deep. So I was more than a little concerned about the distortions and conclusions in your e-mail regarding the retention election this November 8 for a friend of freedom in Pennsylvania, Justice Sandra Schultz Newman.

Distortions? You allude to the current Pennsylvania Supreme Court having ruled on the July midnight surprise (the pay raise and the unvouchered expenses). They have not.

Then you made sweeping recommendations about the retention election next week. Please let me address the question of Justice Newman's record. Perhaps you will see why we need to retain her.

Justice Newman was one of two Justices last year to hold that "no registry" in the Uniform Firearms Act means just that - "no registry". She rejected the Big Government stretches of the Governor's office and the mainstream media.

In 2001, Justice Newman voted in favor of free speech and against prior restraints on political ads, an area of intense concern for pro-gun, pro-life, and conservative activists. I know - I helped litigate that case.

But that's not the point. The point is what was discovered more than twenty years ago when a clueless "New York Times" reporter was covering a Senate race in Idaho. At a rally, speaker after speaker tipped the hat to "the three boxes of our liberty." Finally, the reporter asked someone in the crowd, "What are these three boxes I keep hearing about?"

The man looked at the reporter with surprise and said, "The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box."

So I'll vote "Yes" to retain Justice Sandra Schultz Newman on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. When liberty's in the dock, she's one of the judges I'd want hearing the case.

Rob Keenan

I wrote to the sender with thanks for the feedback and asked, "Can I publish this on my blog? Do you want your name used? Do you want your email used? Do you want to have me scrub it to take out the personal stuff?

His reply:

It's OK to use my name & e-mail. Thanks for asking. And thanks for keeping liberty issues before us here in Western Pennsylvania.


Anonymous said...

Tom, a candidate for School Board on Tuesday's ballot wrote to say:

Looks good, Mark. I really like the poem. Keep up the good work.

He'll be at a party at Sports Rock in The Strip District on election night. I hope to see him there.

Anonymous said...

PACleanSweep: Ignore Newman and Nigro Desperation Ads

ANNVILLE, PA [11.04.05] - PACleanSweep today urged Pennsylvania voters to ignore a last-ditch ad campaign by Justices Russell Nigro and Sandra Schultz Newman arguing that they deserve to be elected to another term presiding over the PA Constitution on the Supreme Court.

Both justices have launched a last minute blitz aimed at repairing their reputations with voters, but citizens across the Commonwealth have become sophisticated enough to realize that the Supreme Court is indeed culpable in the July 7 pay- jacking.

The Court ruled to uphold Act 71 - the slots bill - just two weeks before the General Assembly passed the pay raise, despite a glaring violation of PA Constitution. That decision cited another ruling from 2002 which allowed the legislature to change the entire meaning of a bill in the middle of the legislative process.

Without confidence regarding what the Supreme Court would say about the pay raise, which used a similar last-minute rewrite, the legislature may not have acted in the way they did on July 7. Since Chief Justice Ralph Cappy authored and actively but secretly lobbied for the raise, voters can only assume that he had the agreement of both Nigro and Newman in doing so.

Additionally, while Cappy publicly praised the pay-jacking and hailed the legislature's action as "courageous," both Newman and Nigro remained utterly silent on the issue.

"Newman's and Nigro's ads are attempting to paint a warm and fuzzy picture of these two, but they didn't have a very warm and fuzzy attitude towards citizens when they trampled the Constitution on Act 71 and in 2002," said PACleanSweep Chair Russ Diamond.

"And they certainly didn't exhibit a warm and fuzzy view of taxpayers when they abused their expense accounts by charging Pennsylvanians for $85 bottles of wine, $300 dinners, On Star systems for their taxpayer funded luxury cars and golden junkets to the Bahamas and other high-priced resorts."

Nigro is paying for ads with funding which is currently under the microscope of a Department of State investigation to determine their legality. PACleanSweep's investigative report into Nigro's campaign finances last month, which prompted the DOS scrutiny, has been published online at

Although judicial terms last ten years, Newman - currently 68 years of age - will be forced to step down in 2007 when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

"There is no good reason to retain these two justices," added Diamond. "They are part and parcel of the broken processes that obviously need reformed in Harrisburg. Reform needs to begin now, and we need justices who are willing to take it on. Newman and Nigro have yet to be a part of any solution, so they are indeed part of the problem. It's a matter of trust, and these two have betrayed the public trust. They are at the heart of the culture of greed and arrogance which runs throughout government in our Commonwealth."

Voters will be asked whether Newman and Nigro deserve to be retained on November 8. They have no opponents. It is a simple yes or no question. PACleanSweep is recommending a resounding "NO" vote as the first step in truly reforming state government.

Nigro Campaign Finance Investigation
About PACleanSweep

PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit

For More Information
Russ Diamond
PACleanSweep Chair