Russell M. Nigro

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Russell M. Nigro was first elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania on the Democratic ticket in 1995. He ran for retention in 2005 but failed to earn a majority of "YES" votes, thus making him the first Supreme Court Justice to lose a retention vote since such elections were first held in 1968.[1]

The ousting of Justice Nigro was the direct result of public anger over a pay raise for members of all three branches of state government, which the General Assembly passed without public notice or debate in the early morning hours of July 7, 2005 and then-governor Ed Rendell quickly signed. Since executive and legislative elections would not be held until the following year, the public voiced its displeasure by denying retention to Justice Nigro. Nigro received strong support from southeastern Pennsylvania and his native Philadelphia, but met strong opposition in southwestern and southcentral Pennsylvania where anger over the pay raise was greatest.

The public blamed Nigro, specifically, for voting to raise his own salary during a midnight session of the legislature. Nigro has since been presiding over Real Estate Tax Appeals in The City at a salary of $70,000 for what the Philadelphia Inquirer calls a "Part Time job".


Governor Rendell nominated Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Cynthia A. Baldwin to temporarily fill the vacancy through January 2008.

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