Pa. voters to fill seats on appeals courts

November 4, 2009 8:41:35 AM PST
Pennsylvania voters will be awarding a hotly contested open seat on the state Supreme Court and filling a half-dozen vacancies on the Superior and Commonwealth courts.

Polls open statewide at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

The Election Day showdown between Republican Joan Orie Melvin and Democrat Jack Panella for the state's highest court follows a campaign that generated more than $3 million in contributions.

Both candidates are sitting judges on the Superior Court - Panella in Bethlehem and Melvin in Pittsburgh.

Nine judges and lawyers are competing for four open seats on the Superior Court, which handles most appeals from criminal and civil cases in county courts.

Four candidates are also vying for two openings on the Commonwealth Court, which hears lawsuits filed against state agencies and appeals of decisions by most state agencies.

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