Wolf loses in court, hands over judicial appointment records

Regional News

FILE – In this Nov. 4, 2020, file photo, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf speaks during a news conference in Harrisburg, Pa., regarding the counting of ballots in the 2020 general election. Facing a deep, pandemic-inflicted budget deficit, Gov. Wolf will ask lawmakers for billions of dollars funded by higher taxes on Pennsylvania’s huge natural gas industry for workforce development and employment assistance to help the state recover. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Details on the 18 lawyers who applied for an appointment to a Commonwealth Court vacancy in 2019 were obtained by a news organization this past week after it won a two-year legal battle against Gov. Tom Wolf.

LNP, The Caucus and Lancaster Online reported Wednesday that Wolf’s office released documents about the vacancy to which the Democratic governor appointed a former state Senate Republican lawyer, Drew Crompton.

The Lancaster news organization won a court decision earlier this year over access to the records.

Wolf had followed a decades-long tradition of keeping judicial applicants a secret and had refused to provide copies of applications and the names of applicants.

The losing applicants included two law school professors, attorneys with the state attorney general’s office and litigators from Pittsburgh, Erie and Harrisburg.

Crompton was sworn in last year to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican.

Crompton in 2019 was the chief of staff and general counsel to then-Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson.

He ran for a full 10-year term on the court in last week’s election and is trailing Democrat Lori Dumas, a Philadelphia judge, in unofficial results. State officials are directing a recount.

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