The Pennsylvania Supreme Court announced that Chief Justice Max Baer died suddenly this weekend. He was 74 years old and was scheduled to retire at the end of 2022 due to reaching mandatory retirement age.
Gov. Tom Wolf ordered commonwealth flags on all commonwealth facilities, public buildings, and grounds to fly at half-mast until sunset on the day Baer is laid to rest. Services are scheduled for Tuesday, October 4.
Justice Debra Todd will now become Chief Justice of Pennsylvania as the justice of longest and continuous service on the court.
The vacancy will be on the 2023 ballot. The governor could choose to fill the vacancy in the interim, which would require confirmation by two-thirds of the state Senate. With only six days remaining in the Senate’s current schedule for 2022 (which expires November 30), the vacancy appears unlikely to be filled this calendar year.