Archive

Supreme Court travels in style | TribLIVE.com
News

Supreme Court travels in style

Fast on the heels of news that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille accepts gifts from those with matters before him (and it’s perfectly legal as long as it’s disclosed) comes word of state appellate justices’ sweetheart leases of luxury vehicles at taxpayer expense.

As the Tribune-Review’s Brad Bumsted and Debra Erdley documented on Sunday, Cadillacs, Lexuses, a Mercedes-Benz and high-end SUVs are among the vehicles being underwritten for all but one judge of the seven-member Supreme Court. Superior and Commonwealth court judges have the same perk. And all receive gasoline reimbursements as well.

The appellate judges are among the highest paid in the nation. These leases run as high as $600 a month. And that’s not including the taxpayer-underwritten insurance on these vehicles.

To wit, for Chief Justice Castille, the public pays $568 a month for the lease of a 2010 Cadillac plus more than $130 monthly for insurance. Never mind that there are vehicles available in the state fleet for as little as $230 a month.

Among the general defenses of such a perk — all-wheel-drive big cars are needed for bad weather and the amount of driving warrants them, never mind that at least two judges billed taxpayers to fly to court sessions or meetings.

To the first point, dare we suggest a few bags of sand in the trunk of a more economical vehicle• To the second, why should the public cover the cost of a vehicle and flights?


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.