here. It rivals everything found in the bonusgate presentments from 2008 and 2009.
Why is there no call for her immediate resignation? There is no gray area when it comes to judicial staff and resources being used for political purposes. It is strictly verboten. Judicial staff can't even volunteer for political campaigns. Period. (Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, In Re: Prohibited Political Activity By Court Appointed Employees)
The only comment from any sort of Democratic leader is found today in the Tribune Review, and it is a desultory shrug:
"State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's name appears more often in a recent grand jury report than the report's target, her sister Janine Orie. Testimony in the report suggests Melvin, whose 2009 election gave Republicans a one-vote majority on a court that could determine the shape of Pennsylvania's congressional districts, could become ensnared in the widening criminal case against her sisters Janine, 57, her former aide, and Jane, 50, a Republican state senator from McCandless. Janine and Jane Orie are charged with using state-paid staff to perform campaign work. An Allegheny County grand jury presentment released last week includes testimony from one witness saying Melvin did the same thing. Melvin, 55, of Marshall, has not been charged...State House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, led the prosecution of Larsen in the Senate. Dermody declined to comment, but his spokesman, Bill Patton, said he's "closely following" the Ories' case." (Tribune Review 12/20/11)
The collective yawn from the Democratic Party so far is especially curious given how quickly many members of the House Democratic Caucus were so quick to call for then-Majority Leader Bill DeWeese to resign his post as caucus leader after the first bonusgate arrests were made in July of 2008.
There was now-Senator John Yudichak, Representatives Bill Keller, Dan Frankel (Capitolwire 7/16/08), Harry Readshaw (Capitolwire 7/17/08), Matt Smith (Post-Gazette 7/18/08), Josh Shapiro (Capitolwire 8/8/04), Eugene DePasquale (Capitol Ideas blog 8/6/08), Jesse White (Jesse White blog 8/6/08), Jared Gibbons (Beaver County Times 8/8/08), and, yes, even Frank Dermody. (Tribune Review 8/21/08)
Remember, DeWeese wasn't even mentioned in the first bonusgate presentment, and this was a year and a half before the presentment was handed down against him in December of 2009. At the time all these calls for resignation were happening, DeWeese was less culpable according to the grand jury report than Orie Melvin has been shown to be in the two presentments released by Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappalla so far.
What's the hold up now?
Orie Melvin is part of the GOP establishment who has ripped away at efforts to reform health care, wants to strip collective bargaining rights away from workers, wants to end prevailing wage laws, make it harder to hold accountable big corporations who put profits over all else, gut public education, oh, and gave us the latest reapportionment maps.
And, it turns out that she used illegal methods to get onto the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in order to make rulings that will stick it to Pennsylvanians at every turn.
The time to act is now. If someone in the Pennsylvania Democratic Party establishment doesn't call for Orie Melvin to resign, then no one else will.