What does it say about a candidate for judge in Pennsylvania that blocks news sites on Twitter?

December 27 – Jill Beck, an attorney from Pittsburgh, is running for a judge in Superior Court in Pennsylvania and announced her candidacy earlier this month. 

She ran for an appellate seat a few years ago and came close, but ultimately lost. 

Beck, 43, will be running in the Democratic Primary to hopefully get the nomination for Superior Court and she’s currently attending various fundraisers and speaking engagements in PA. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “I noticed Jill Beck running around the countryside with union folks here and going to Democrat fundraising there and a little listening tour. She was listening to a lot of Democrats is what she was doing. Then all of a sudden I see Jill Beck has blocked NewsTalk 103.7FM. I think I might have posted one or two things like, ‘watch out, Pennsylvania,’ ‘look up, Pennsylvania.’ I wanted people to look at her, have a good, hard look at this particular candidate. That’s not a good optic here out of this candidate.” 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “It’s puzzling at this level and this stage of a campaign that they would be engaged in this level of monitoring outlets. It is a little bit surprising to me that a statewide candidate this quickly out of the gate would be blocking people from their Twitter feed. I don’t know if you’ve emailed them. You would probably never get any explanation, but it would be curious to know what is it about this platform that popped up on her radar that said I need to block them?”

“I think I know the suspect on that,” Ryan suggested. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “Politicspa.com put out a nice little thing about her. Beck announces candidacy for Superior Court. This was back on December 1. When I read through what she said about herself, I found it troubling because she literally says in here, very equitable-minded obviously, ‘it doesn’t matter who you are, what you look like, how you pray or who you love or how much money you make, everyone deserves a fair shot in the eyes of the law.’ My comment back to that was no, it’s not your job as a judge to be giving your interpretation of what a fair shot is. You’re supposed to be applying the law equally. Equal application of the law to everyone and she has lots of terminology in her reporting on herself that indicates she’s quite the equity activist. Equity in my opinion is the opposite of equality.” 

Barkdoll said, “The idea that everyone deserves a fair shot is really not the perspective that a judicial candidate should be taking. The law does treat everyone equally, but it seems like her statements there, if that was in her campaign announcement, are a little bit off. I would be curious to know how many other users has she blocked as she’s going around the state? Remember these are candidates that 99 percent of the public come Election Day, they don’t even know who these people are, but nonetheless interesting that this early in a campaign, she must have a fairly active social media management team that would be monitoring this kind of stuff.” 

Ryan said, “This is exactly why you take the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and nobody paid attention and then what did we get? We got an activist Supreme Court because nobody paid attention. I want people to pay attention. That’s why I flagged her and starting going, Pennsylvania, look out. Pennsylvania, pay attention because if you’ve got some thin-skinned Jilly Poo who is already blocking people, that person doesn’t necessarily bode well for Pennsylvania overall. I’m also going to give her a little bit of a berth here. Maybe she’s got some child in there that is handling her social media. Maybe someone flipped the switch. Maybe it’s a keyboard warriorette or a warrior who didn’t like oh you’re asking people to pay attention. Heaven forbid. But if it was Jilly Jill Poo, then dial it back, darling and let’s make sure you don’t block the media.” 

What would happen if she does become a Superior Court judge? 

Ryan asked, “Am I still going to be blocked here? I doubt it. You couldn’t do that, could you? They tried that on a Pennsylvania State Police level and that ended very quickly.”

Barkdoll said, “Once they become a public official, they could not engage in this kind of blocking or moderation. For now, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. I would imagine it’s a staff person running the social media. I can’t imagine the candidate would be engaged in this level of minutiae with social media accounts. If I’m the candidate, I would welcome the criticisms, the negative comments, certainly the constructive criticisms. That’s what these candidates should be about and they should be reaching out to people that have criticisms of them.”