In Thursday's Post-Gazette, an ad was run by the Judicial Excellence Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association concerning various candidates running for judicial positions. The ad has the appearance, intended or otherwise, of being an endorsement or nonendorsement of certain candidates. This is somewhat misleading, at least as it relates to the judicial races for courts that serve the entire state (i.e., Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts), not simply Allegheny County.
While I have no objection to the individual ratings in the ad, your readers should be aware that the committee rates only those candidates who live in Allegheny County or have their principal place of business here. Candidates from other parts of Pennsylvania are not permitted to obtain a rating, favorable or otherwise, from this committee. However, the ad gives the impression that the committee evaluated the entire field for those statewide races when they have not.
Thus, the ad should not be interpreted as a relative comparison between the local judges listed in it and those judges from other parts of the state who were not permitted to be evaluated by the committee. To view a bar association rating of all candidates, your readers may visit the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Web site at pavotesmart.com.
JOHN P. GISMONDI
The writer is a lawyer.