The Lead

Pa. Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, who is retiring at year’s end, sets departure plan

By: - March 1, 2021 3:02 pm

The Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg (Capital-Star file)

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor says he’ll hand the gavel to his successor, Justice Max Baer, on April 1, but will remain on the state’s highest court until his mandatory retirement at year’s end.

Saylor, who was elected as a Republican, will turn 75 this year, triggering the mandatory retirement clause in the Pennsylvania constitution. He has served as chief justice since January 2015, the Administration Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which oversees the state courts system, said in a statement.

“I am grateful to have led a productive Court, composed of collegial and dedicated jurists, and I  appreciate the support I have received from the other justices and court system personnel throughout  my tenure,” Saylor, who has served on the high court for 23 years, said in a statement. 

In those two decades-plus, Saylor has been the primary author of 400 opinions across a wide spectrum of criminal, civil, and administrative law, the AOPC said.

Baer, who was elected as a Democrat to the high court in 2003, and retained in 2013, credited Saylor for “distinguished service and extraordinary leadership of an independent judiciary.

“We have been discussing this transition for some time, and I particularly value the opportunity to have him close at hand as I take on the myriad additional responsibilities of chief justice,” Baer continued. “I hope to follow his example of strong, collaborative, and effective leadership during the remainder of my time on the court.”

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.