Candidate Profile
Kevin Brobson

Republican , Pennsylvania

Biography

Name
Kevin Brobson
Party
Republican
Race
Supreme Court Justice
Incumbent
No
Links
   

Panel Rating

Originalist Information icon

Endorsements

Conservatives

2
Gun Owners of American Pennsylvania, Stacy Garrity

Others

1
Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs

Reported by Candidate

5
Republican Party of PA, PA Pro-Life Federation, Firearms Owners Against Crime, Pa. State Troopers Association, Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs

Selected Contributions

Conservative

GIVEN BY CANDIDATE
2
National Rifle Association (2009), Tom Corbett (2008)
RECEIVED BY CANDIDATE
4
America's Foundation PAC (2009), Build PA PAC (2019), Joseph Scarnati III (2019), Pennsylvania Future Fund (2019)

Liberal

RECEIVED BY CANDIDATE
2
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (2019), National Education Association (national, state & local affiliates) (2009)

Summary

25%

LIBERAL

75%

CONSERVATIVE

 

Other Information

The Pennsylvania Bar Association gives Judge Brobson its highest rating.

See the American Family Association's voter guide on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Judge Brobson is on the Board of Governors at the St. Thomas More Society, a Catholic legal organization.

Judge Brobson clerked for Judge Kelly, who was nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by a Republican-majority Senate.

Quotes:


Notable Cases:

  • Judge Brobson refused to require Pennsylvania to send every registered voter a mail-in ballot (NAACP v. Bookvar). Judge Brobson said that the proposed requirement would have expanded the court’s power “into policymaking territory…reserved to the General Assembly under the United States Constitution.”
  • Judge Brobson ordered the Secretary of the Commonwealth to segregate certain absentee ballots until the courts resolved the question of whether the ballots should be counted (Hamm v. Boockvar).
  • Judge Brobson ruled that firearm owners in the City of Harrisburg had standing to sue their city for several anti-gun laws (Firearm Owners Against Crime v. City of Harrisburg). Judge Brobson overturned the Commonwealth Court’s precedent in NRA v. Philadelphia and NRA v. Pittsburgh, arguing that both cases were clearly mistaken in hampering citizens’ ability to sue governments for limiting their constitutional rights.
  • Judge Brobson ruled that a state employee who had been fired for a Facebook rant had to be reinstated to protect her First Amendment rights (Carr v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). Instead of recognizing absolute boundaries around the right to free speech, Judge Brobson engaged in a balancing act between the interests of the state and citizen’s interest in free speech, ultimately deciding that free speech was more important in this case.
  • Judge Brobson recommended to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that it allow Pennsylvania General Assembly to engage in partisan gerrymandering (League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth). Judge Brobson said that those challenging the gerrymandering “failed to meet their burden of proving that the 2011 Plan [that created gerrymandered districts], as a piece of legislation, clearly, plainly, and palpably violates the Pennsylvania Constitution. For the judiciary, this should be the end of the inquiry.”

Questionnaire

Please note: Responses are entered electronically by the candidate and are listed verbatim.

Religious Liberty

What role (if any) does a judge have in maintaining the separation of church and state?

Judges must safeguard against government interference with the free exercise of religion, guaranteed in the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions.

Religious liberty is at risk in the United States and deserves the highest level of protection in the law.

Strongly Agree   


Values

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, which justice’s opinion most closely aligns with your opinion of whether the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be extended to the LGBTQ community?

Kavanaugh

Judeo-Christian values established a framework of morality that is necessary for our system of limited government.

Strongly Agree   

George Washington's comment that “Religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society” is still true today.

Strongly Agree   

Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.

May faith in God and his only son Jesus Christ, my Savior, is the cornerstone of my life. I share this faith with my wife of 22 years and our three children. Our values of honesty, integrity, hard work, and family are rooted in our faith.

What types of pro bono work have you done?

I have frequently lectured or otherwise participated in continuing legal education programs. I have also volunteered in my children's school and after-school activities, including Boy Scouts of America and athletics. While in private practice, I started a new pro bono program to provide free legal assistance to nonprofit service organizations.


Qualifications

I voted in these primaries and general elections:

2012 Republican Primary, 2012 General Election, 2014 Republican Primary, 2014 General Election, 2016 Republican Primary, 2016 General Election, 2018 Republican Primary, 2018 General Election

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or been penalized for sexual misconduct? If so, please explain.

No.

What education or experience qualifies you to hold the office for which you seek election?

I have served over 11 years as a judge on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and was recently elected by my peers to serves as the court's President Judge. I also served a four-year term on the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board, investigating complaints of judicial misconduct. The members of the Board elected me to serve as the Board's chair. I thus have the judicial, leadership, and administrative experience to be a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice.

Why should the voters choose you?

I am a lifelong conservative known for fairness in the courtroom, well-reasoned decisions, and fidelity to the law. I am an experienced appellate court judge who understands that all Pennsylvanians deserve to have faith in a fair and impartial judiciary. I will be a new voice the Pennsylvania Supreme Court—-a justice that will ensure that government follows the law and that our rights are protected.


Judicial Philosophy

Justices should not interpret the federal and state constitutions as living documents, but should use a textualist and originalist approach to interpretation.

Strongly Agree   

What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?

Statutes must be construed according to the words used by the legislature. Where the language is clear, it must be applied. Under Pennsylvania's Statutory Construction Act, legislative history is one of many tools that may be used to ascertain legislative intent when a statute is ambiguous. However, as a Commonwealth Court judge, I have not found legislative history in Pennsylvania to be particularly helpful in construing ambiguous statutory language.

Which current or past U.S. Supreme Court justice best reflects your judicial philosophy?

Scalia

How should a court review claims by the government that individual rights must be curtailed during an emergency such as a pandemic?

Any action by the state government to curtail rights during a pandemic should be evaluated by asking first whether the government has the power to do so in statute or the constitution. If that power does exist, than the method by which the power is exercised must be evaluated in light of the rights and freedoms afforded to our citizens. Importantly, the courts must be open to our citizens to challenge such government actions and to protect these rights and freedoms.

When should a judge overturn past court decisions?

When blind adherence to precedent serves only to perpetuate error.

How should a judge determine which rights are protected by the Constitution even though they are not specifically mentioned?

Fundamental rights are those rights enumerated in the plain text of the Constitution. The US Constitution, in clear and express terms, recognizes unenumerated rights retained by the people that are also deserving of protection. Under prevailing law, to be recognized and protected any such unenumerated rights must have deep footing in the history and tradition of our country.

What legal principles should a court consider when evaluating parents’ objection to their child obtaining medical procedures or drugs designed to affirm the child’s desired gender?

Parental rights; religious freedoms; procedural due process; the scope and extent of governmental authority

Would you describe your judicial philosophy as originalist, living constitutionalist, or something else?

I am an originalist, strict constructionist, and textualist.


Background

Education
  • Widener Commonwealth Law School, Harrisburg, PA, JD, 1995
  • Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA, BA, 1992
Work & Military
  • Commonwealth Court of PA, Judge, 2010-present
  • Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Shareholder, 2003-2009
  • Buchanan Ingrsoll PC, Associate, 1996-2003
  • Hon. James McGirr Kelly, E.D. Pa., Judicial Clerk, 1995-1996
Affiliations
  • Legatus, Member
  • Four Diamonds Advisory Board, Member and Chair (2010-2017)
  • St. Thomas More Society, Member (2015-2019)
  • St. Catherine Laboure Church, Parishioner
Offices
  • President Judge, Held 2021-present
  • Judge, Held 2010-2020
 

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