What Happened?

Congratulations to Brian Marshall on his election to be the next Judge of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas!

As much as I want to blame the children who run the Centre County Democratic Party for Ron McGlaughlin’s loss, the bottom line is that the Democrats ran a better campaign. The local party officials may be insufferable, but they got their message out and delivered voters to the polls. That’s how you win an election.

A major question I have is this: Why didn’t the Republican Party pull out all the stops for their candidate like the Democrats did for their’s?

I know I and several other Democrats received a lot of pushback from the party over our support of Ron McGlaughlin. I have no interest in relitigating those arguments, other than to say all politics is local, and all local politics is personal. And when it comes to candidates I have the right to support whomever I prefer, especially if I know one of the candidates personally. That freedom of association and affiliation is the essence of our system. To demand loyalty to party over all else is to undermine the very institutions we ostensibly support.

Finally, I do have reservations about Attorney Marshall, but I think he will make a fine judge. They all have rocky starts, and there is a learning curve for each of them. I hope he takes the next two months to observe as many court proceedings as as he can and studies as much as he can so he is as prepared as he can be on Day One. I know the other judges are ready and willing to help him transition to this new role, as were their peers when each of them was first elected.

I also hope he takes up the challenge of winning over skeptics like myself because, at the end of the day, in the courtroom we are all on the same side. We, the bar and the bench combined, all swear or affirm to “support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth […]” That collegiality is what binds our chosen branch of government together.

I would like nothing more than to be sitting here in a little less than ten years, writing a hearty endorsement of Judge Brian Marshall for retention. Serve with a fair, judicial temperament. Bring an inquisitive mind to the bench, with an eagerness to learn. Make just, equitable, and ethical decisions. Rule with compassion and humility. Impress the hell out of us.

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