At one of the parties, Daily News columnist John Baer buttonholes Ronald Castille:
I see state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille and ask who's footing the bill for his Manhattan stay. The chief, you may know, recently attracted attention for taking gifts of weekends and golf outings from law firms whose lawyers practice in his court.
"I can't tell you," he tells me. "It's a matter of security. You'll see when I file [a required ethics statement] in May."
I press the question of whether allowing judges to accept gifts is a policy under review. It is, he says, and notes that current standards permit "normal societal hospitalities."
Sounds to me like legalese for "take any damn thing you want."
In other news Jon Schmitz goes over the PA Turnpike legacy of Joe Brimmeier: better roads (due to $5 billion in spending) but higher rates.
And do not miss the P-G's yearlong study of deadly pollution in Western Pa, where the mortality rate for people dying of heart disease, respiratory disease and lung cancer is 10 percent higher than average. It started yesterday and continues through the week.