Court Cases in Pennsylvania: Good vs. Evil

— Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

There were two interesting happenings in the courts of Pennsylvania this week. Both of them relate directly to Governor Tom Corbett, and show him to be the kind of person dedicated to personal gain over human rights.

Certainly you remember the case of Jerry Sandusky, the coach who was abusing young boys for years and is now in prison for life. When pedophiles are brought to light, it is the obligation of those in charge to do something to prevent further abuse. Tom Corbett, as attorney general, chose not to, and instead to take $640,000 from Sandusky for his gubernatorial campaign coffers. He is not being charged, yet, but the three men who oversaw Jerry Sandusky are now going to trial. Former Penn State president Graham Spanier, Former Penn State Vice President Gary Schultz, and Former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley, are charged with knowing about Sandusky's abuse, not reporting it to the police, and then lying about it to the Grand Jury. Specifically: perjury, obstruction, endangering the welfare of children, failure to properly report suspected abuse and conspiracy.

More after the jump.

My guess is that Corbett's complicity will come up at some point. And probably someone will end up mentioning that he is up there with Bob McDonnell for turning the governor's mansion into a pay-to-play site. Read this

So, we have a bunch of powerful men putting their own institutions (Penn State and the Pennsylvania Legal System) ahead of the protection of young boys.

In another court case, the Pennsylvania Board of Health is suing the Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes. Hanes is the man in charge of issuing  marriage licenses. In light of the recent Supreme Court decision, he started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples: 34 of them so far. 

I know, you don't understand what the Register of Wills and the Health Department have to do with marriage licenses. This is Pennsylvania, and we are weird. For example, my mailing address has a zip code that includes part of 3 counties, and is different from my actual township. If I had a landline, it would be in yet another town. In addition, Pennsylvania is one of the only states in the country that does not have a gay marriage or civil union law, and also not a constitutional ban on marriage equality. Marriage licenses come from the Register of Wills, which is a county position, and the State Health  Department oversees, among other things, marriage and death certificates. 

The Attorney General's office, headed by Kathleen Kane, is refusing to defend the state against the ACLU suit related to the ban on  gay marriage. She won't touch this, either. Under Pa. law,  the Health Department is allowed to sue in Commonwealth Court, because marriage licenses are a civil, not a criminal, matter. That's why it is a suit in lieu of a criminal action. 

Further, the Health Department is an arm of the Executive Branch, and Corbett wants to defend against both the ACLU suit, and anything that would allow gay people to marry. Again, he is against civil rights and human rights, and basic moral decency. 

On the up side, Jerry Sandusky is in jail, where he can't hurt any more boys, and he will never get out. Spanier, Schultz and Curley will likely join him there in a year or two. It is not out of the realm that Corbett will end up as an indicted co-conspirator one of these days. In the end, the Pa. DOMA law will be struck down, and the Montco marriage licenses will stand, and will end up issued in all the other counties, too. 


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