Debra Todd has been sworn in as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WHTM) — History was maderiday, January 20, 2023, in Pittsburgh as the daughter of a steelworker became Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ending three centuries of men who have held the position.

When Debra Todd raised her hand, another gender barrier fell in Penn State.

“In the 300 years we’ve been on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, we’ve never had a female chief justice before, so it’s about time,” Todd said.

Todd’s seniority on the Supreme Court made it her time to take over as president.

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Being Chief Justice means overseeing all courts across Pennsylvania and swearing in new governors, as she did last week.

“I’m not above any of my peers in terms of voting on issues,” Todd said. “The dollars stop here in terms of system administration.”

The daughter of a steelworker, Debra McCloskey grew up in western Pennsylvania. Her father was proud when she became a lawyer for US Steel. In 1999, she was elected to the Supreme Court and to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2007.

Todd added: “I would like to see political issues and election issues resolved without going to court.”

Todd is troubled by recent cases in which elected officials and the public suggest Supreme Court rulings are politically motivated, and thus tainted.

I believe that in our court there are no Democrat justices and there are no Republican judges. “We’re all Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices,” Todd said.

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Now, there’s a woman in charge, and a teacher reminds Todd of her days in the elementary school choir.

“The song was, ‘Every little kid can be boss,’ and the boy got to sing the solo and the girls were the backup singers. At the time that was kind of the expectation, that the boys were going to be top achievers,” Todd said.

Merging Todd with House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton and Senate Pro-Temp Kim Ward, women are no longer reserves.

“One day, maybe very soon, when we talk about women in senior leadership positions, it will be normal. And I am waiting for that time when seeing women in senior positions is normal and we are in Our way to it.”

Todd is no longer a member of the elementary school choir, but is said to still have a beautiful voice.

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When asked if abc27 would sing a few bars to one of her favorite songs, Todd said, “No, I’m not going to sing you some bars. I like ‘I Wish You Could Dance’ because it means to me as a mother that I think of my daughter and how I want her to reach her dreams.” .

There has been a lot of progress in Penn State, but there is still more work to be done. Pennsylvania has never elected a woman or person of color as Governor or Senator of the United States.