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May 18, 2011

All Democratic Judicial Nominees Received Association's "Recommended" Rating

Calling it a "positive endorsement of the Philadelphia Bar Association's thorough evaluations of judicial candidates," Association Chancellor Rudolph Garcia said he is "extremely pleased" that all 11 Democratic judicial nominees for Philadelphia Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court in the May 17 primary election received “Recommended” ratings by the Association’s nonpartisan Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention.

"The hard work of our Judicial Commission helped Philadelphia voters make informed choices at the polls," said Garcia. "The Commission and its investigative division spent hundreds of hours investigating and evaluating the qualifications of this year’s large number of judicial candidates. We did this as a public service, as we do each judicial election year. It is great for Philadelphia that 100 percent of the winning Democratic judicial candidates were found recommended to serve by our Judicial Commission."

The Association's Campaign for Qualified Judges used television and radio spots, print and online advertisements, targeted emails and flyer distributions to educate voters about the Commission's ratings. The ads directed voters to a banner on the homepage of the Association's website at that contained a link to print the candidates' ratings so that voters could bring the list to the polls.

Garcia also appeared on several TV and radio shows to explain the Judicial Commission's process and encourage voters to consider the ratings when casting their ballots.

"We wanted voters to know not just who to vote for, but why the judicial elections are so important and why we invest so much time and energy in reviewing and rating these candidates," the Chancellor said. "The Philadelphia Bar Association is the one place for voters to find a thorough, unbiased rating of the candidates."

The Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention is independent and nonpartisan. It includes lawyers and non-lawyers. Among the members of the Commission are community leaders, officials including the District Attorney, Chief Public Defender, City Solicitor, and the President Judges of Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court, and representatives of minority legal groups and various sections of the Bar.

The ratings by the 30-member Judicial Commission followed extensive study and investigation by the Commission's own 120-member investigative division, which includes 30 non-lawyer members. Candidates found "Recommended" satisfied a cumulative review of criteria including qualifications such as legal ability, experience, integrity, temperament, community involvement and judgment. Complete details can be found at

"The Commission rated all 45 candidates for the 11 open seats on Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court," said Commission Chair Richard S. Seidel. "It was an enormous undertaking involving many hundreds of interviews by the investigative division and careful review, consideration and deliberation by the Commission."
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