First: Seamus McCaffery is sorry.
Second: Think the feud between Justice McCaffery and Chief Justice Ronald Castille could be left to cool down in the weeks before Justice Castille retires? Forget about it.
One day after Justice Castille, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Justice McCaffery sent or received more than 200 sexually explicit emails, Justice McCaffery issued a statement covering two main points – apologizing for his involvement in the scandal and tearing into the state's top jurist.
The first part:
I served my country proudly in the United States Marine Corps. I served my city proudly as an Officer of the Philadelphia Police Department. Coarse language and crude jokes permeated both ranks. That's not an excuse, just a fact. Unfortunately, personal, private emails between me and some longtime friends were never meant to be viewed by anyone else, but they were. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment. I erred and if I offended anyone, I am truly sorry.
The second part:
This latest cooked-up controversy over my personal emails is part of a vindictive pattern of attacks by the soon-to-be-retired Chief Justice, Ronald Castille. He is fixated on taking down a fellow justice with his misleading statements and incredible hypocrisy. Isn't it time for the press to ask the real question? Why is the Chief Justice fixated on hurling one accusation after another at me, in an ongoing attempt to discredit me?
Ron Castille's statement yesterday, issued on AOPC (Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts) letterhead and purporting to represent the position of the entire Supreme Court, was a lie. In fact, members of the Supreme Court did not even know about the statement until they read the publication. And it is only the latest lie in the Chief Justice's egomaniacal mission to 'get me.' His mission began when he reported me to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over my wife's legitimate receipt of referral fees, and that didn't work. He has done everything possible within our Court to undermine me with my colleagues, and that didn't work. Now, with only two months left in the hourglass of his tenure on our Court, he is trying to finish what he has been trying to do for so many years. He has been on this mission because I had the guts to challenge him on the Family Court fiasco and on what the citizens of Pennsylvania got for the more than $3 million of First Judicial District funds that were funneled to one of his closest friends. And I had the guts to challenge him on his disastrous handling of Pennsylvania's worst judicial scandal and a tragic injustice that will forever be known as the 'Kids for Cash' disaster.
Does the flap end here? Not likely. There isn't anything illegal about adults sharing adult pornography (as opposed to the kind that features minors, which has not been alleged in this case) but it could be a violation of use policies for state-owned computers, and Castille has implied that any judges involved in the scandal could be in violation of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct. Justice Castille is approaching the court's mandatory retirement age and has just a few weeks left on the bench – but that's plenty of time for this dispute to boil over even further.