Judges with Pittsburgh ties enter race for Pa. Supreme Court |

Judges with Pittsburgh ties enter race for Pa. Supreme Court

Jasmine Goldband
Do the Write Thing Co-Chair Judge Dwayne D. Woodruff, a Family Court Judge in the Court of Common Pleas, talks about the Do The Write Thing Challenge. The essay contest is part of a national campaign that gives middle school students the chance to let their voices be heard through their experiences with violence in their lives.
Superior Court Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen

Two judges with strong Pittsburgh ties announced plans Monday to run for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where a trio of vacancies is attracting a quickly expanding field of hopefuls.

Superior Court Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen and Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Dwayne Woodruff said they plan to run in 2015 for one of the three vacancies on the seven-member court.

Woodruff, 57, of McCandless spent more than a decade playing cornerback for the Steelers. The Democrat has been a Common Pleas judge since 2006.

Allen, 66, a Hampton Republican, was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1990, won election in 1991 and was retained in 2001. She won election to the state Superior Court in 2007.

“I am honored to have served as a judge in the state of Pennsylvania for more than 24 years, and I believe that my diverse experiences equip me well to bring a combination of wisdom, integrity and informed judgment to our state’s highest court,” Allen said in a statement.

Allen, who is married and has three children and seven grandchildren, is a graduate of Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh School Of Law.

Woodruff told The Associated Press that he made the decision in the past week or two to run.

“I think being on the Supreme Court’s going to give me a larger platform in regard to serving the people in the commonwealth, particularly when it comes to education and caring of families,” he said.

Woodruff was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 2004, and won election the next year.

Woodruff had 37 interceptions while playing in the NFL from 1979 to 1990, and was a rookie on the Steelers squad that beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Louisville and law degree from Duquesne University.

Roughly a dozen potential candidates have emerged who are interested in being on the state Supreme Court. Three Democrats on Superior Court have confirmed their candidacies: Anne Lazarus, David Wecht and Christine Donohue. Superior Court Judge John Bender, a Republican, has said he hopes to run.

Another confirmed candidate is Justice Correale Stevens. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett appointed him last year to fill a seat opened by the resignation of Justice Joan Orie Melvin after her conviction in a public corruption case.

Stevens said Monday he has decided he will seek the job on a permanent basis.

The other two openings are a vacancy caused by the sudden retirement last month of Justice Seamus McCaffery, whose involvement in a pornographic email scandal had become public, and the spot held by Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who is about to step down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has a 4-3 Republican majority, counting the empty seat held most recently by McCaffery, a Democrat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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