Friday, January 27

Reactions pour in after the sudden passing of Pa. Supreme Court Chief Justice Max Baer

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Max Baer, ​​unexpectedly died overnight at the age of 74.

His passing prompted an immediate outpouring of well wishes and condolences from several politicians and officials across the state of Pennsylvania.

County Executive, Rich Fitzgerald, issued the following statement regarding Baer’s death:

“I was saddened this morning to hear of Chief Justice Baer’s death,” Fitzgerald said. “He had such a significant, positive impact on the judiciary, first as a Common Pleas Court judge, and then as a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and then as the Chief Justice. His loss from him will be greatly felt.”

“Max’s heart and passion for those who were in need, particularly families and children, was well known and evident in much of his work. His efforts to raise money for kids, through the music fund that raised money through an annual concert and the annual comedy night, a highlight of the political season, was unmatched,” Fitzgerald added.

“He will be sorely, sorely missed. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends, and thank them for allowing this community and state to have him as an advocate for justice for so long.”

Pennsylvania Bar Association President, Jay N. Silberblatt, also spoke on Baer’s passing:

“The passing of Chief Justice Baer brings a wave of tremendous sadness to those who had the privilege of working with him and to those who knew him for a well-earned reputation of fairness, kindness, and caring,” Silberblatt said. “Chief Justice Baer led by example. He focused on improving the operations of Pennsylvania’s appellate courts, listening intently to members of the bar and acting with purpose to improve the public’s and legal professional’s interactions with the court.”

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“Chief Justice Baer was selfless, investing his efforts in making Pennsylvania courts better for all of us. He often shied away from the spotlight, instead focusing on the successes of his colleagues,” Silberblatt said.

Commonwealth Court President, Judge Renee Cohn Jubelirer, released the following statement expressing thoughts and condolences on behalf of the Commonwealth Court:

“The judges of the Commonwealth Court share in the grief of our colleagues on the Supreme Court at the tragic loss of Chief Justice Max Baer,” Jubelirer said “His impact on the judiciary is immeasurable and marked by his moral courage and an untarnished reputation for fairness, honesty, and integrity. The Chief personified all that is good about the work and the role of the courts, focusing his life’s work on meeting the needs of children and their families.”

“Chief Justice Baer was a mentor to so many, who will now go forward and work to carry on his legacy. Our thoughts for peace and healing go out to his family, friends, and colleagues as they mourn his passing,” Jubelirer added.

Finally, Governor Tom Wolf sent his thoughts to Baer’s family:

“I’m extremely saddened to learn that Chief Justice Baer passed away. He was a respected and esteemed jurist with decades of service to our courts and our commonwealth. I am grateful for his contributions and leadership in the Supreme Court,” Wolf said.

“Frances and I send our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and his fellow justices and colleagues at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.”

Governor Wolf also ordered the commonwealth flag on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds to fly at half-staff immediately, per a press release.

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Chief Justice Baer served on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 2003 to 2022 and was sworn in as Chief Justice in 2021. Baer was set to retire at the end of the year, as he would have reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

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