The two candidates vying for an open seat on the Commonwealth Court traded barbs during a forum this morning over their respective backgrounds and what those anecdotes say about how they would craft opinions.

Republican Anne Covey, during her opportunity to direct a question at Democrat Kathryn Boockvar, charged that several explosive blog posts critical of law enforcement officers and questioning the conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been incarcerated in state prison since 1995 related to the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.

Covey blasted Boockvar for the blog posts, written by two of her former co-workers, asking whether they represent her views. Boockvar replied that the blog posts don’t represent her views, noting that neither mention nor were written by her.

“She wants to put forward words that I never wrote,” said Boockvar, who most recently worked on voting rights issues, following the event at Harrisburg’s Widener University School of Law. “I want to put forward words that she did write.”

When the roles reversed, Boockvar pointed to Covey’s book on labor law, questioning her word choice in asking if “the employment relationship has gone too far by creating too many employee rights.”

Covey, who has served on the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board since 2002 and has a private practice where she primarily represents businesses in labor matters, said the quote was taken out of context.

Covey said that section of her book focuses on seeking litigation and more communication in employer-employee relationships, and not to undo decades of legal statutes.

The two women are competing for the open judge seat on the state appellate court tasked with hearing legal disputes involving government entities. They noted the breadth of the court’s docket, which ranges from labor matters to zoning conflicts as well as environmental issues involving Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

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