Original Jurisdiction in the case of Bernard Snyder, Judge, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County v. Judical Inquiry and Review Board et al.
Richard A. Sprague, with him William R. Herman, Steve Alexander and Stephen R. Basser, Sprague & Rubenstone and James D. Crawford, Schnader, Harrison, Segel & Lewis and Edward W. Mullinix, for petitioner.
G. Thomas Miller, McNees, Wallace and Nurick, with him Perry S. Bechtle, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Memorandum Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 565]
This proceeding was commenced by the filing of a petition for review in the nature of a complaint in equity which averred that this Court enjoys exclusive original jurisdiction over this action as provided in Section 761(a)(1) and (b) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 761(a)(1) and (b).
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 566]
Petitioner, the Honorable Bernard Snyder, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board's investigation into his official judicial activities. By order dated January 25, 1984, per Judge Williams, we preliminarily enjoined the Board from continuing its investigation and fixed a further hearing for February 2, 1984. Although we received no evidence at that time, we heard extensive and cogent legal argument of counsel, directed in part to the issue of this Court's jurisdiction. By Order dated February 2, 1984, we directed that our prior Order of January 25, 1984, remain in effect until we considered and disposed of the question therein presented.
We are constrained to conclude that this Court in this action lacks original jurisdiction against the Judicial Inquiry and Review Board. Without deciding whether the Board is a part of the "Commonwealth government"*fn1 for the purpose of this Court's original jurisdiction, we conclude that jurisdiction must reside in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
The Judicial Inquiry and Review Board exists by virtue of Article V, Section 18 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. It is charged with the duty of receiving complaints and making investigations, dispositions, and recommendations relating to the potential suspension, removal, discipline or compulsory retirement of Justices or Judges. If the Board makes such a recommendation, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the ultimate authority and may either accept or reject it.
Article V, Section 2 of the Pennsylvania Constitution declares the "supreme judicial power of the Commonwealth" is reposed in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 567]
Further, Article V, Section 10(a) of the Pennsylvania Constitution ...