Pa. high court opening follows justice’s departure

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court officially has an empty seat now that Joan Orie Melvin’s resignation is taking effect.

Wednesday is the day on which Melvin told Gov. Tom Corbett she would resign following her conviction in February on corruption charges. Melvin, who had been suspended from the state’s highest court since August, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday and says she plans to appeal the verdict against her.

There’s been no word from the governor as to when he’ll nominate a replacement or who it will be.

Any nominee must win a two-thirds majority confirmation vote in the state Senate. Court officials say a replacement justice would serve until voters elect a new justice to a 10-year term in the next election in an odd-numbered year, likely to be 2015.

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