Mary Jane Bowes

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Mary Jane Bowes
Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Assumed office
January 2002[1]
Personal details
Born (1954-07-18) July 18, 1954 (age 63)[2]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania[2]
Political party Republican Party
Alma mater Georgetown University
University of Pittsburgh School of Law[2]

Mary Jane Bowes (born July 18, 1954) is a judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She was elected in 2001 and began her term in January 2002.[1]

Education and legal career[edit]

Bowes earned a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University in 1976 and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979. After graduating law school, she clerked for Chief Justice Henry X. O'Brien of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and Senior Judges Harry Montgomery and John P. Hester of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.[1]

From 1986 until 1998, she worked in private practice.[1] From 1998 until 2001, she served as corporate counsel to a large environmental remediation firm.[3]

2001 Superior Court election[edit]

In Pennsylvania's 2001 judicial elections, Bowes ran as a Republican for one of three open seats on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. She was one of four Republicans and three Democrats to run.[4] Despite receiving a rating of "not recommended" from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for lack of trial and appellate advocacy experience,[3] she was endorsed for the Republican nomination by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette[4] and by the Republican State Committee.[5]

In the primary, Bowes garnered 428,013 votes, or 29.1%, more than any other candidate in the Republican primary race. Along with fellow Republicans Richard B. Klein and John T. Bender, she went on to the general election to face Democrats David Wecht, Lydia Y. Kirkland, and Stephanie Domitrovich.[6]

In the general election, she was again endorsed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.[7] She ultimately received 1,006,251 votes, or 18.7% in the "choose one of six candidates" election, totaling the second most number of votes.[8] Since she was among the top three candidates, she won a seat on the Superior Court, along with two other Republicans. Analysts attributed the Republican sweep to an off-year low urban turnout,[9] in this state which generally votes Democratic.

2011 retention election[edit]

Her initial ten-year term ending in December 2011,[1] Bowes faced a retention vote in Pennsylvania's 2011 judicial elections. The Pennsylvania Bar Association recommended that voters elect to retain her, citing her work ethic, intellect, community involvement, and clear writing.[10] In the general election on November 8, 2011, Pennsylvanians voted overwhelmingly to retain her.[11]

Retention of Judge Mary Jane Bowes
Candidate Votes Percentage
Yes 1,066,543 73.6%
No 383,491 26.4%
Total votes 1,450,034 100%


  1. ^ a b c d e "Honorable Mary Jane Bowes". The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Judges of the Superior Court". The Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission 2001 candidate ratings" (PDF). Pennsylvania Bar Association. 2001. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Judicious choices; primary endorsements for state and county courts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 6, 2001. p. E-2. 
  5. ^ "State GOP endorses judicial candidates". Lancaster New Era. February 12, 2001. p. B-2. 
  6. ^ "2001 Municipal Primary". Pennsylvania Department of State. May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Best for the bench; our choices for Superior, Commonwealth Courts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 21, 2001. p. E-2. 
  8. ^ "2001 Municipal Election". Pennsylvania Department of State. May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ Roddy, Dennis B. (November 7, 2001). "Eakin leads GOP sweep of court seats; low Philadelphia, Pittsburgh turnouts hurt Democrats". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. A-13. 
  10. ^ "PBA Judicial Evaluation Commission Releases Retention Ratings for Judicial Candidates" (Press release). Pennsylvania Bar Association. September 28, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "2011 Municipal Election". Pennsylvania Department of State. 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2011.