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GIGLIO v. SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

August 10, 1987

Theodore Giglio, Plaintiff
v.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and The Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEALON

 William J. Nealon, Chief Judge

 Defendants' have filed a motion to dismiss this action in which plaintiff, a Lackawanna County probation officer, seeks to restrain defendants from discharging him because he is seeking public office as a district justice. For the reasons that follow, defendants' motion will be granted and the action will be dismissed.

 FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 The backdrop of this case is the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's eleven-year-old prohibition against political activity by court-appointed employees. On March 3, 1976, the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania issued the following memorandum to all judges and justices of the peace in the Commonwealth:

 
Questions have been raised concerning the employment by judges and justices of the peace of persons who are actively engaged in partisan political activities. Complaints have been received that persons are employed in judicial systems at the County level with the Courts of Common Pleas, justices of the peace, or constables and that such persons are holding posts as committee persons and ward leaders. In addition, some of these individuals actively serve at the polls on Election Day as watchers or perform other functions of a political nature.
 
Such employment is improper, and those concerned with such employment, either as employers or employees, are hereby advised that, unless such party or political affiliation or activity is terminated within the next 30 days, such persons must be removed from judicial employment.

 The Court Administrator next issued a supplemental memorandum to all president judges within the Commonwealth on May 7, 1976. This supplemental memorandum read in part:

 
The memorandum [of March 3, 1976] was issued as a reminder to judges and district justices of the peace that they and their staffs should remain free from any political activity. It was also intended that district court administrators and their staffs would be subject to the prohibitions in the memorandum.

 On March 18, 1977, the Court Administrator issued a second supplemental memorandum. This second supplemental memorandum was addressed to all judges and district justices in the Commonwealth and stated in part:

 
This Supplemental Memorandum is a reminder to judges and district justices of the peace that they and their staffs must remain free from any political activity. Persons employed in sensitive positions in the court system must not engage in partisan politics. This would preclude lawclerks, court administrators and secretarial employees from being committee-persons, working at the polls or running for public office. *fn1"

 The facts of this case developed under the setting of the three memoranda cited above. Prior to June 29, 1987, plaintiff was employed as an Adult Probation Officer for Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. After allegedly obtaining the permission of the President Judge of Lackawanna County to become a candidate for the office of district justice, plaintiff filed nominating petitions with the Election Bureau of Lackawanna County on March 9, 1987. On May 19, 1987, he gained the Republican nomination for the office of district justice.

 On June 29, 1987, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued an order in which it reaffirmed its policy against political activity by court-appointed employees. The Supreme Court also issued guidelines in order to ...


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