State judicial candidate Paul Lalley stops in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Pittsburgh area attorney Paul Lalley, on his way to the Franklin County Republicans Lincoln Day Dinner in Chambersburg, stopped at the Echo Pilot Thursday, April 23, to share his platform. He is the unopposed and endorsed candidate of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania for a seat on the Commonwealth Court in the May 19 primary election.

Two Democrats are vying for that party’s nomination and the judicial candidates will meet on the November 3 municipal election ballot.

Lalley has also been “highly recommended” by the Allegheny County Bar Association, and “recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Lalley, 44, is seeking the seat vacated by retiring President Judge Dan Pellegrini.

Quick court facts

The Commonwealth Court is an intermediate appellate court, at the same level as Superior Court. They are higher than the county Court of Common Pleas, and beneath the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Commonwealth Court primarily deals with regulatory agencies and state and local governments. It has nine judges elected for 10-year terms, followed by retention elections. Court cases are heard in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Lalley campaign

“My expertise is in government entities,” Lalley said. “I have represented local governments in labor and employment cases, as well as school districts. I have argued four cases in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.”

Having resided earlier in Philadelphia, the Dickinson Law School graduate clerked for a Supreme Court justice for four years.  His legal career has always addressed cases pertaining to regional and state issues, he said. He has argued frequently at the Commonwealth Court level in grievance arbitration, he continued.

“Voters should care about this court, because case resolutions will impact them through the actions of agencies in the future,” Lalley said. “There have certainly been some important decisions in the past couple years.”

One was the fate of the $60 million fine levied by the NCAA against Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The court upheld the constitutionality of the Endowment Act, which stated any fine over $10 million went into the state treasury trust fund, rather than to be spent nationally.

Lalley said court cases involved issues close to home, such as land use control, zoning, worker’s compensation disputes, and any fight with local government.

While the Commonwealth Court was partisan as far as elections, Lalley said anyone chosen by the public had a fundamental obligation to commit to each case using impartiality and fairness. The judges were to make decisions based on the principle of law, upholding the Constitution, precedence, and the facts presented.

Voters seemed to like the judicial restraint of Republican judges, Lalley said, and the bench currently was composed of seven Republicans and two Democrats.

He encouraged people to use the voice they had to choose the judiciary element of Pennsylvania’s government, as well as the legislative and executive.

“Hopefully they can make an informed choice.”

Lalley is Senior Associate Attorney with Campbell Durrant Beatty Palombo & Miller, P.C. The firm focuses on labor and employment, and municipal-school-and appellate law.

He thinks he has one experience that sets him apart from his opponents.

His wife Jessica was out of town when he had a campaign appearance scheduled for Philadelphia. The cold March weather resulted in the daycare closing, so he drove across the state with daughters Felicity, 5, and Reagan, then 2, in tow.

“I had to change a diaper on the Pennsylvania turnpike,” he remarked.

His decision to run for judge was made with the support of family, Lalley said.