ChesterNewMatter4thQtr2021 - 28

CCBA Feature
Chief Justice
Emeritus Thomas G. Saylor
By Jim McErlane, Esquire
Lamb McErlane PC
but rather the manner of delivery, the inflection of voice,
the tone, demeanor, and even at times, the emotion.
These are intensely personal, heartfelt statements. The
written record does not convey the full impact of an
oral statement.
Speaking in the reverse seniority of judicial tradition,
he Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held a
Ceremonial Session on September 22, 2021, in
the Supreme Court Courtroom, in the Capitol,
Harrisburg. The purpose of the Session was to recognize
Tom Saylor's monumental contributions to the Supreme
Court of Pennsylvania and to the Commonwealth.
Chief Justice Max Baer set the tone for the occasion by
saying that he is sitting in the chair of the Chief Justice
only " because my dear friend and esteemed colleague ...
made the personal choice to step down a year early and
to remain on the Court in my right-hand seat that would
by all rights would be mine and this seat would be his. "
Tom Saylor faces mandatory retirement on December 31,
2021. Chief Justice Baer faces mandatory retirement on
December 31, 2022.
Chief Justice Baer described Tom Saylor as " the finest
of men, the finest of colleagues, and the finest of leaders
... Tom Saylor has the unending admiration, not just
from me, but from all of our colleagues. "
With all due respect to the three distinguished speakers
who made formal presentations to the Supreme Court
(and whose written texts are replete with footnotes),
I shall focus on the comments of the six Justices. The
Justices all spoke in glowing terms of Tom Saylor, but
what struck me most was not simply the choice of words,
28 | New Matter
Justice Mundy started off by going to what was the
central theme of the proceedings: trustworthy counsel,
strength of leadership, and most of all, " the generosity
and kindness of your friendship. " Justice Mundy
delivered her comments directly to Tom Saylor, not to
the audience, a practice followed by each of the Justices.
Justice Wecht started by saying that he hardly knew
Saylor when he went on the Supreme Court, but " it has
been one of the most valuable experience of my life to
get to know and work with Tom Saylor and to appreciate
the contributions he has made to our Commonwealth, to
our law, to our Court. " Justice Wecht talked about Tom
Saylor's humility and pointed out that " if it were up to
him this whole convocation would not be occurring. "
Justice Wecht described Tom Saylor's " principles, as a
fundamental paradigm of ordered liberty that can never
be taken for granted. And I believe that in his service,
Chief Justice Saylor has not been equaled. "
Justice Dougherty spoke in a strong voice, saying
that his friendship with Tom Saylor " blossomed and to
this day I would stand here with great pride and share
with you that I consider Chief Justice Tom Saylor now
part of our family. There's not a time I will step foot into
Harrisburg when I will not come to his door, not as a
Justice, but as a little Kevin Doc, waiting to be educated
from Tom Saylor. "


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ChesterNewMatter4thQtr2021

ChesterNewMatter4thQtr2021 - 1
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