Convicted Pa. Supreme Court judge pressured to resign
February 22, 2013By Mary Wilson
If Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin doesn't resign in light of her conviction on six criminal charges, state House lawmakers are ready to make her the second impeached high court judge in 20 years.
One Democratic lawmaker has called for Orie Melvin to leave the state's highest court to avoid a lengthy impeachment process.
"The impeachment process is very onerous but we have to be ready as a Legislature to take the actions needed to impeach Justice Orie Melvin if she doesn't resign," said Rep. Brandon Neuman, D-Washington.
She's been suspended since charges were filed against her, but her vacancy can't be filled -- and an even-numbered court can't be made whole -- until she's actually removed.
Such a move could come at the hands of the state Legislature.
House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin says one Republican is already drafting a resolution to begin the process.
"If she doesn't resign, the House is going to move ahead with impeachment preparations," Miskin said Friday.
Think of impeachment like an indictment. It would only oust Orie Melvin from the bench if it were followed by a conviction.
And that part is handled by the state Senate.
The last time the General Assembly removed a state Supreme Court Justice was in 1994. The whole affair took five months.
This time, the impeachment process couldn't begin before mid-March, when the House is back in session.