The Law: A Court Goes to Court

Faced with steeply rising costs for clerks, probation officers and the like, Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas asked the city council for an extra $5,230,817. The money, argued the court's judges, was essential to the orderly administration of justice. Turned down, the judges took unusual action: the court went to court, seeking a writ ordering the city to pay.

In a remarkable decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just found for the Philadelphia judges. Because the three branches of state government are coequal, said the court, "the independent judiciary must possess rights and powers coequal with its functions and duties, including the...

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