DEMOCRATIC  PARTY
OF YORK COUNTY

                    York County, PA


2017 PA JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

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PA Supreme Court

Madame Justice Debra Todd

Retention for Justice PA Supreme Court

In 2007, Debra Todd became the first Democratic Woman in history to be elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She is now in line to become Pennsylvania’s first female Chief Justice.


Justice Todd was born in Ellwood City, PA, the daughter of the late Harry and Blanche McCloskey. Her father was a steelworker at J&L Steel. She is married to Attorney Steve Todd, and they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Justice Todd received her B.A. Degree with Honors from Chatham College; J.D. Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she was a member of the Law Review; and LL.M. Degree in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law.


Prior to serving on the bench, Justice Todd was a trial attorney in Pittsburgh for eighteen years, first as an in-house litigator for U.S. Steel Corporation, and later in private practice with an emphasis on complex civil litigation. After serving for eight years as a Judge on the PA Superior Court, she commenced her tenure on the Supreme Court in January 2008.


Justice Todd is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, and is an alumna and former board member of Leadership Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Allegheny County, PA and American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the Allegheny County and PA Bar Foundations. She is a member of the National and International Associations of Women Judges and the Women’s Bar Association of Western PA. Justice Todd is a frequent lecturer and panelist for continuing legal education programs on appellate practice and procedure, ethics, elder justice, child abuse, and veterans issues.


In 2007, Justice Todd was named the Outstanding Elected Democratic Woman of the Year by the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women. She also received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Chatham University; The Legal Intelligencer Women in the Profession-Woman of the Year Award; The Cornerstone Award in Law from Chatham University; the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Philip Werner Amram Award; the University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award; the University of Pittsburgh’s 225th Anniversary Medallion; the Tribute to Women Leadership Award in Business & Professional Services from the Greater Pittsburgh YWCA; the Pitt Law Women’s Association’s Marjorie Matson Woman of the Year Award; and the Amen Corner’s Judge Robert E. Dauer Award for Judicial Leadership and Excellence.


In 2016, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape awarded Justice Todd its first Visionary Award, recognizing her significant impact in the lives of survivors of sexual violence. Most recently, Justice Todd was honored by the Women’s Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania with its Susan B. Anthony Award, for promoting equality in the legal profession.


Justice Todd served as Chair of the Supreme Court’s Elder Law Task Force, devoted to making life better for our Commonwealth’s seniors. She represents the Supreme Court in the leadership of the Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts, the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness, and the Pennsylvania Veterans Courts. She is a board member of the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and is a Past President of Pittsburgh Action Against Rape.

On November 7, 2017, she will stand for Retention (a Yes/No Vote) on the General Election Ballot.

Judge Dwayne Woodruff

PA Supreme Court Justice

Since 2005, the candidate has served as a judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas where he presides over family and juvenile matters. Upon completion of law school, he was an associate in a large Pittsburgh firm handling product liability and insurance defense. He quickly rose to a level of competence that allowed him to be lead counsel in major cases. He also worked as a certified National Football League player representative. In 1997, he founded his own law firm. He continued to represent professional athletes and handled real estate tax appeals, personal injury and debt collection cases. Most attorneys who appear before him in court describe him as being hard working, well prepared, polite, attentive, and respectful to litigants. The candidate has a strong work ethic and displays a deep respect for his role as a trial judge.  He eagerly learned the law in the Family Division, despite the fact that he had no prior experience in that area of the law. He was appointed a member to the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Juvenile Justice, which was created by the Legislature to investigate the circumstances that lead to corruption in the juvenile court in Luzerne County. With few exceptions, his opinions have been described as clear and concise on appellate review and by attorneys. Throughout his career, he has actively participated in charitable organizations and has received multiple awards acknowledging his outstanding work on behalf of national and local community organizations. Because of his strong work ethic and unquestioned integrity, the commission recommends his candidacy for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

PA Superior Court

Judge Deborah Kunselman 

PA Superior Court Justice

Deborah Kunselman is currently a judge on the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas.  She is a 1992 honors' graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, and a 1989 high-honor's graduate of the Pennsylvania State University.  Before taking the bench, she practiced for thirteen years in many areas of civil litigation, including personal injury, municipal, family and employment law.  Elected twice to the bench, Judge Kunselman has presided over family, juvenile and civil cases.  "Highly recommended" by the the bar. 

Judge Maria McLaughlin

PA Superior Court Justice

Judge McLaughlin earned a law degree from Widener University in 1992.  Prior to her election to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, she was Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Child Support Enforcement Unit. 

She was also a practicing attorney for 19 years within the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. She is a member of the National Association of Women Judges and sits on the Widener University School of Law Alumni Board.

Judge Geoff Moulton

PA Superior Court Justice

Judge Moulton has been married for 22 years and has two daughters. He received his law Degree from Columbia University in 1984.

Before his time on the bench – he was sworn in as a judge on the Superior Court in 2016 – he conducted two critical independent investigations, one involving the raid in Waco, TX and the second investigating Jerry Sandusky for the PA Attorney General’s office.

Has devoted much of his career to public service: served as a law clerk in both Appellate and Circuit Courts, spend 8 years as a federal prosecutor. 
He is also a dedicated conservationist, previously serving on the board of the National Lands Trust.

Judge Carolyn Nichols

PA Superior Court Justice

Before being elected to the bench, the candidate worked for the City of Philadelphia Law Department and the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and maintained a solo legal practice predominantly performing employment law. In 2011, the candidate was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and since that time has exclusively overseen criminal matters. The candidate’s reputation among her colleagues is one of intelligence, conscientiousness and objectivity. She is known for high ethical standards. Her opinion and legal writings are well reasoned.  The commission initially had concerns that, as a consequence of reposting articles touching on social issues, it could appear as though the candidate were taking a public position on matters that might come before the court. When directly questioned on this issue, the candidate displayed respect for the commission’s concerns and was willing to re-examine her practice. In discussing the issue, the candidate demonstrated a commitment to impartiality and judicial temperament consistent with the highest standards required by the judiciary. Sensitive to the importance of maintaining impartiality, the candidate committed to personally monitor her social media posts during her campaign and to discontinue her use of social media if elected.  Based on the candidate’s strong reputation, experience and judicial temperament, the commission recommends the candidate to serve on the Superior Court. 

PA Commonwealth Court

Judge Ellen Ceisler

PA Commonwealth Court Justice

Ellen Ceisler has been a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for nine years. During her first five years, she handled criminal trials. She was then assigned to civil motions and more recently to major civil trials. The candidate has a thorough knowledge of the rules of evidence and courtroom procedures. Prior to her being elected to the bench in 2007, she had a diverse work background, including experience as a prosecutor, investigative producer and litigator. She has served as director of the Integrity and Accountability Office of the Philadelphia Police Department and legal adviser to the Sheriff's Office of Philadelphia. Her judicial temperament is one of fairness, thoroughness, independence and integrity. The candidate has administrative experience, which she gained from serving with the Philadelphia City Controllers' Office as a director of the Special Investigations and Fraud Unit. The commission recommends the candidate for the Commonwealth Court.

Judge Irene Clark

PA Commonwealth Court Justice

After graduating from law school,Irene Clark has been employed in a variety of positions handling civil litigation and divorce and custody proceedings. In 1993, the candidate was appointed to the Pittsburgh Municipal Court, where she continued to serve until 2003. Since that time, the candidate served in a variety of positions and maintained a private law practice addressing the problem of municipal blight.  She has become a leading authority in the field, as an attorney, representing clients in blight revitalization efforts and as an advocate, counseling state and local organizations on reforming laws and policies related to blight.