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MARJORIE L. DOBSON. PETITION MARJORIE L. DOBSON. PROHIBITED POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY COURT APPOINTED EMPLOYEES. (TWO CASES) PETITION JOSEPH A. PANUCCI. PETITION GERALD MATTHEWS (12/07/87)

decided: December 7, 1987.

IN RE MARJORIE L. DOBSON. PETITION OF MARJORIE L. DOBSON. IN RE PROHIBITED POLITICAL ACTIVITY BY COURT APPOINTED EMPLOYEES. (TWO CASES) PETITION OF JOSEPH A. PANUCCI. PETITION OF GERALD MATTHEWS


Pa. , 531 A.2d 1113-1114 (1987)

COUNSEL

Martin F.P. Vinci, III, Lewis, Vinci & Partel, Coraopolis, Thomas J. Michael, Gallo, Weiner & Michael, Pittsburgh, for Marjorie L. Dobson.

Vincent A. Tucceri, Gaitens, Tucceri & Nicholas, P.C., Pittsburgh, and Robert T. Crothers, Peacock, Keller, Yohe, Day & Ecker, Washington, Barbara A. Rizzo, for Prohibited Political Activity by Court Appointed Employees.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Former Justice Hutchinson did not participate in the consideration or decision of these cases. Larsen and Zappala, JJ., dissent.

Author: Nix

[ 517 Pa. Page 21]

OPINION

The purpose of this opinion is to explain our decisions denying relief to the petitioners in the above-captioned cases. Those matters concerned the applicability of this Court's order of June 29, 1987, barring court-appointed employees from engaging in partisan political activity.*fn1

Our order of June 29, 1987, reaffirmed and provided guidelines for this Court's already-existent prohibition against political activity by persons employed in the judicial system. Pursuant to the express terms of the 1987 order and guidelines, which were to take effect thirty days after issuance, any court-appointed employee engaged in partisan political activity had to cease such activity at once or be terminated from his judicial employment. Shortly after promulgation of the order and guidelines, three individuals holding court-appointed positions, Marjorie L. Dobson, Joseph A. Panucci and Gerald Matthews, separately invoked this Court's original jurisdiction and petitioned us for relief from the order's prohibition, asserting that it should not apply to his or her situation. Each of those petitions was accompanied by an application for a stay of the enforcement of the order, which we granted pending resolution of the claim for relief.

On October 15, 1987, after having heard the three cases on the merits, we in each instance entered a per curiam order denying relief and dissolving the stay, 516 Pa. 26, 531 A.2d 1113. As stated in those orders, a written opinion was to follow. Accordingly, we hereby set forth the reasons for our decisions.

The text of our order of June 29, 1987, regarding political activity by court employees is as follows:

Order

Per Curiam

[ 517 Pa. Page 22]

AND NOW, this 29th day of June, 1987, the prohibition against political activity by court-appointed employees is hereby affirmed, and the attached guidelines are intended to clarify the policy which was previously approved by this Court. These guidelines shall ...


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