Stats show the impact female judges are making on the Pennsylvania bench

Bizar Male

How important is it for women to serve as judges in the United States?

Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli thinks Ruth Bader Ginsburg summed it up nicely.

The late U.S. Supreme Court justice was asked when there’d be enough female judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. When would she be satisfied?

“When there are nine,” she said.

There might not be nine women on the U.S. Supreme Court, but women are making an impact on the Pennsylvania bench.

Today 30% of Pennsylvania’s active judges are women, according to information provided by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. The numbers were released for Women’s History Month.

The first woman to serve as judge, Sara M. Soffel, took the bench 91 years ago in Allegheny County.

Also:

  • Three women serve among the seven justices on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
  • The majority of the judges now serving on the Pennsylvania Superior Court (71%) and Commonwealth Court (67%) are women.
  • Thirteen women serve as president judges in the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas.
  • Retired Northampton County Judge F.P. Kimberly McFadden was president judge during her tenure.

Roscioli acknowledged the progress made and hopes that some day the state bench will reflect the state’s population.

“I’m certainly happy to see more women are out there and have been elected to the bench, but I think it goes beyond that. We need to see more diversity on the bench,” she said. There has never been a Black or Latino judge in Northampton County.

“I definitely think it’s wonderful that we have more women represented on the bench. I simply think that the diversity in the courts in general is important,” Roscioli said.

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Rudy Miller may be reached at [email protected].

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