Candidate Profile
Patricia McCullough

Republican , Pennsylvania

Biography

Name
Patricia McCullough
Party
Republican
Race
Supreme Court Justice
Incumbent
No
Links

Panel Rating

Originalist Information icon

Endorsements

Conservatives

1
Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation PAC

Reported by Candidate

5
PA Pro Life Fed., Christian Coalition-Westmoreland, Justice and Mercy-PA, Patriots 4 Action, awaiting others

Selected Contributions

Conservative

GIVEN BY CANDIDATE
1
Action of PA (2009)
RECEIVED BY CANDIDATE
1
Tom Corbett (2009)

Summary

0%

LIBERAL

100%

CONSERVATIVE

 

Other Information

The Pennsylvania Bar Association recommended Judge McCullough for retention on the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 2019, but does not recommend her in the 2021 race for Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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

Judge McCullough spoke at a rally in March 2021 that called for an end to the COVID-19 shutdown and mask mandate in Pennsylvania. According to WESA, Judge McCullough said that "all law is based on divine law."

Judge McCullough is a former Executive Director of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Notable cases:

  • Judge McCullough placed a temporary injunction on certification of Pennsylvania’s November 2020 election results (Kelly v. Commonwealth).
  • Judge McCullough ruled in favor of a Republican candidate in a close race who argued that 270 defective ballots should not be counted (In Re: Allegheny County Provisional Ballots in the 2020 General Election). Judge McCullough commented that judges only need to follow the rules of interpretation when a law is unclear (see page 7 of her opinion).
  • Judge McCullough voted with the Commonwealth Court majority in Allegheny Reproductive Health Center v. Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, which threw out Planned Parenthood’s efforts to overturn a recent ban on using the state’s Medical Assistance funds for most abortions. Judge Ceisler dissented, saying that she agreed with the outcome of the case but believed Planned Parenthood did have legal standing to bring the case to court.
  • Judge McCullough wrote a concurring and dissenting opinion in Firearm Owners Against Crime v. City of Harrisburg, arguing that the firearms owners in the City of Harrisburg ought to be allowed to challenge the city’s anti-gun State of Emergency Ordinance. Judge McCullough argued that, if the firearms owners were allowed to amend their complaint against the city, the owners would have legal standing to challenge the emergency ordinance (see page 4 of the concurring and dissenting opinion).
  • Judge McCullough ruled that the governor lacks authority to fire the Executive Director of the Office of Open Records (Arneson v. Wolf). Judge McCullough based this ruling on legislative history and other considerations to ascertain the intent of the legislature in the absence of explicit statutory definitions of the governor’s powers (see pages 1, 9, 11-12).

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?

The term "wall of separation" came from a letter by Jefferson and was adopted by the courts in Everson. Justice Rehnquist later wrote, "The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned." Justice Scalia said it is not in the Constitution.(I will abide by my oath)

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?

issue before court

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.

I am a Christian. My denomination is Catholic. I personally adhere to the teachings of the Bible and my faith and the sanctity of life. (I will abide by my oath.)

What types of pro bono work have you done?

provided pro bono legal advise re student praying at a highschool graduation; matter involving OBE legislation; low income individuals who needed help with misc.legal issues;etc.


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 currently serve as a statewide appellate judge in the PA Commonwealth Court (almost 12 years.)I also served as a trial judge in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas; Assistant General Counsel, University of Pittsburgh; Director of faith-based agency (Catholic Char.)practicing attorney over 27 years;chair Allegheny County Board Property Appeals;J.D. Univ Pgh School of Law;B.A. Univ of Pgh.(magna cum laude)

Why should the voters choose you?

I have proven to be a constitutionalist in my career and will prove to be a constitutionalist on the PA Supreme Court. I am the only judge in America to order 2020 presidential election results not to be certified. I do not take donation money from attorneys or PACS or legislate from the bench. I abide by my oath to be fair, impartial and uphold the rule of law and Constitution. I stand for justice and idea that "We the People" give government its' power, not the other way around.


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?

I will always be fair and impartial and abide by oath to uphold rule of law and Constitutions of U.S.A. and PA. The language of a statute should be applied according to its terms. Justice Scalia frequently noted his objection to using extrinsic material which would replace the statutory language itself. As Scalia noted it should be used only to determine the context in which a statute was enacted. It is the text of a statute which is of primary consideration.

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

Justices Thomas, Scalia and Rehnquist-

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

(I will abide by my oath.) Government curtailment of citizens rights in emergencies(emergency or police powers) must be reviewed to ensure there is not a violation of the Constitution or the law, federal or state, and to protect the inalienable rights of the people to speech, association, assembly, religious exercise, second amendment rights, right to work. Historically, prolonged or excessive measures (economic and freedom)have been held by the U.S. Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

When should a judge overturn past court decisions?

Stare decisis is a policy of courts to defer to prior binding precedent on a similar issue. However, when precedent is erroneous or unconstitutional it should be overturned. As Justice Douglas said, " a judge remembers above all else that it is the Constitution which he swore to support and defend..."

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

As Justice Scalia expressed, "the text and original meaning are objective standards to which judges can be held." Justice Scalia also believed if a right was not in the Constitution it is a "matter for which citizens and states can enact laws."

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?

Consideration of traditional autonomy of parental rights in care of their children is paramount. Parents are presumed to know and act in best interest of child(except abuse/neglect). Consideration must also be given to emotional immaturity of a child to make an informed and knowing consent to a life long decision and the impact of deprivation to the child of the input and consent of their parent who is presumed in all other areas to have authority and act in child's best interest.

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

originalist and textualist


Background

Education
  • University of Pittsuburgh, Pittsburgh, J.D., 1981
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, B.A., 1978
Work & Military
  • (Candidate did not provide)
Affiliations
  • HOPE Foundation, Board and volunteer prison ministry instructor
  • Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation, Board member
  • Hope with Horses, t risk youth, veterans, law enforcment and first r
  • Women Without Walls ministry, member/leader reconciliation and healing
  • Catholic Charities, director-oversaw implementing free healthcare ctr.
  • Pittsburgh Experiment, volunteer, member
  • Nat. Foster Care Coalition, volunteer
  • Rep State Comm, elected member
Offices
  • appointed Judge Alleg. County Court Common Pleas, Held 2005-2006
  • Judge-PA Commonwealth Court, Held 2009-2029
  • Judge Allg County Court Common Pleas, Sought 2006/2007
  • state comm-Rep.
 

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