This week the Philadelphia Bar Association released its final slate of judicial ratings, which includes candidates running for judicial seats and sitting judges running for retention in the Court of Common Pleas, leading up to the Nov. 5 general election.
The 35-member Bar Association is independent and non-partisan. Ratings are based on investigations done by its 120-member investigative division.
“Our Commission’s non-partisan judicial ratings are a simple way for voters to make an informed decision in an often ‘low information’ race,” Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Rochelle M. Fedullo said in a release.
Out queer woman Tiffany Palmer is one of three candidates running for a judicial seat on the Court of Common Pleas who received the “Highly Recommended” rating, along with James Crumlish and Anthony Kyriakakis. The Bar Association rated all remaining candidates “Recommended,” except Crystal Powell.
Rated as “Not Recommended,” Democratic ward leaders chose Powell to fill an empty slot on the ballot after Judge Sandy L.V. Byrd withdrew his bid for retention.
“I am thrilled to be one of the candidates to have received the rating of “Highly Recommended,” Palmer said. “It is a rigorous process and thorough investigation, and I am honored to have received their highest rating based on my 20 years of legal and trial experience.”
Palmer ran a grassroots campaign and placed fourth in the Democratic primary in May, placing her on the general election ticket. Seven seats are available and only seven judges are on the ballot, meaning those who won the primary, along with Powell, are guaranteed a spot on the bench.
All retention judges in the Court of Common Pleas were “Recommended” by the Bar, including out gay judge Dan Anders.
“I am glad that all of the judges who are running for retention received a ‘Recommended’ rating by the Philadelphia Bar Association. … It is a testament to the quality of our judges in Philadelphia that all of our retention judges were recommended,” Anders said.
Anders looks forward to working alongside his “soon-to-be” colleagues.
“Being a judge is a privilege,” he told PGN.”It is also a unique position, and I am happy to provide them with any advice that they need, just like other judges did for me 12 years ago when I first joined the bench.
As one of those “soon-to-be” colleagues, Palmer said she’s equally looking forward to serving the city alongside them.
“I feel very positive and hopeful for our court system with this group of incoming judges,” she said, adding, “My hope is we can work together to ensure that Courts are a fair and unbiased place for LGBTQ+ individuals. I look forward to sharing and discussing resources and ideas with my fellow judicial colleagues as to how to make this a reality in our City.”
While her trial work and courtroom experience brought Palmer the “Highly Recommended” rating, she said her life experience as an out-queer person who experienced discrimination firsthand” will also inform her duties as a judge.
Palmer added that she looks forward to this new chapter in her career and “making a positive impact on our judicial system as a compassionate judge committed to equal justice for all.”
Anders has similar ideals.
“All judges should treat every person and community with respect and equally,” he said.