Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice passes away


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Longtime Pennsylvania state Justice Max Baer passed away suddenly at the age of 74.

Maia Echols, Staff Reporter

Max Baer, the Supreme Court Chief Justice from Pennsylvania, passed away Sept. 30 in his home near Pittsburgh just months before coming up against the court’s mandatory retirement age. He was 74 years old.

Baer was a well-respected justice for the entirety of his term. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1971 from the University of Pittsburgh, he went on to receive his law degree from Duquesne University in 1975. Fast forward to 1989, Baer became a Common Pleas Judge in Allegheny County. In 2003, he was elected to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court and became Chief Justice in 2021.

Becoming part of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court meant that Baer had new responsibilities and jobs to complete. It is typical for state supreme courts to exclusively hear appeals on decisions issued by lower courts, and they do not usually hold trials. In this sense, state supreme courts have appellate jurisdiction over all matters of state law. His colleagues have many things to share about Baer and his contributions to the Supreme Court.

“This is a tremendous loss for the court and all of Pennsylvania,” Justice Debra Todd reported. Todd is to take over as Chief Justice for Pennsylvania, and will be the first woman on this court to do so.

“He was at the top of his game,” Justice David Wecht shared with the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. “He was happy … he was highly productive and a great leader for the court.”

Aside from his general contributions to the Supreme Court, Baer was incredibly involved with child welfare issues.