Charging Joan Orie Melvin: More’s the pity |

Charging Joan Orie Melvin: More’s the pity

Contrary to the popular Lord Acton quotation, power does not corrupt people. “Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power,” said George Bernard Shaw.

It is a sad and tragic point to ponder in the aftermath of a third member of Pittsburgh’s once powerful and politically savvy Orie family being accused of serious public corruption — and also in the aftermath of the pervasive public corruption scandals that have been rocking Republican and Democrat “leaders” in Harrisburg for several years now.

Republican State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, in an exhaustive 76-page Allegheny County grand jury presentment, is charged with using her publicly paid staffers to run for the high court seat she won in 2009. The charges, nine total, include theft, conspiracy, solicitation to tamper with or fabricate evidence, official oppression and misapplication of entrusted property.

Four of the charges are felonies. Some are related to the crimes for which Mrs. Melvin’s sister, Jane Orie, the state Senate’s once powerful GOP majority whip, already has been convicted. A third Orie sister, Janine, who worked for her sisters, awaits trial on related public corruption charges.

The sisters Orie appear to have foolishly fallen into the double trap reserved for politicians and adolescents — “Everybody’s doing it” and “I am invincible.”

More’s the pity for them. But more’s the pity more for Pennsylvania.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.