I respect the law, lawyering and the process in which we litigate in the court system.  I am dedicated to the city of Philadelphia and to its citizens.  The best way for me to give back is through the law and my training.  In this capacity, I may ensure equal justice under the law and access to justice for all regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status or background.  My personal and professional experience have laid a strong foundation for this very position.  My years of public service in this city have taken me to this door step to dispense justice with grace and civility.  I will improve and restore faith and trust in our judiciary in Philadelphia because of my moral compass, candor and integrity.  I have a genuine interest in what happens to people.  I understand the gravity of the judge’s role in the courtroom and the necessity for making fair and impartial decisions, free from bias or prejudice.  I have an honest, genuine commitment to democracy.  I have no political affiliations nor affiliations with any law firms.  As such, the public’s trust will not be hampered by ever questioning my independence as a jurist.  If every jurist judged with the aforementioned character, qualities and work ethic, perhaps proposing ways to improve our judicial system would become unnecessary.

I have genuine understanding of the citizens of Philadelphia and the diverse fabric that is this city.  I am a lifelong Philadelphian.  I funded myself through college and law school.  In fact, as it relates to temperament, I was a bartender through college and law school and when I first started working.  I am used to dealing with people’s problems when they are expressing them without their full faculties. 

My 2015, campaign for Court of Common Pleas judge took me into every corridor and crevice of this City and I was able to sit and hear the concerns and hopes of Philadelphians about the bench.  Furthermore, my practice has given me an intimate relationship with Philadelphia’s legal system and the too often implicit biases that impact judicial decisions and perspectives.  As fate would have it, most of my criminal clients are African American males, I see, understand and live everyday how they are sometimes perceived, over policed and treated by the criminal and civil justice system.  This is how I understand the necessity of diversity on the bench.  Not just in color, gender or sexual orientation; but in, experiencing all of Philadelphia and its citizens and to walk in someone else’s shoes when evaluating people’s actions.  So that equal justice for all and access to justice for everyone transcends to the decision making coming from the bench.  I have an honest, genuine commitment to democracy and to the fundamental expectations of human beings to equal justice under the law as well as access to justice for all. 

I have the competency and temperament to be a judge having been tested almost every day of my legal career.  My client base requires an abundance of temperament and I’ve demonstrated excellent temperament throughout my career.  They are almost exclusively low income criminal defendants and those domestic matters such as divorce and child custody issues which resonates highly charged issues and highly emotional clients.  Often times requiring not only a listening ear; but also, to have the ability and fortitude to be able to talk them “off the ledge.”  The very nature of my practice is a daily testament and excellent representation of my temperament.

I know that to understand people’s actions, behavior, responses, you must take a “walk in their shoes” or be cognizant of how their journey, culture, upbringing effected their actions or decisions.  If you fail to step outside of your comfort zone, you fail to grow and learn but worse as a judge you fail to understand the big picture of what is really going on and why.   Based upon diversity differences, proper decisions may veer outside of your own personal spectrum of what is perceived as proper, nonetheless, be equally appropriate decisions based upon what makes us a diverse society.  A judge must not pass judgment because she fails to understand or relate to those who are culturally different or from a different socio-economic class, background or sexual orientation.  A judge must evolve and continue to learn about people, their culture and the impact that a walk in someone else’s shoes should have on the decision making process when evaluating peoples actions.  One does not have to like it, or be it, but you must respect it to understand people’s action, behaviors and responses. 

Being a judge is the most responsible position in our democracy.  To resolve conflicts and disputes, apply legal principals to move a case to conclusion, on both substantive and procedural issues, in matters for the richest of the rich; to the poorest of the poor as well as corporations to criminals to injured plaintiffs.  It does not matter where you fall in that spectrum everyone deserves a fair trial by an interested jurist.  After all, their day in court is the most important thing happening in their world on that day and the judge is the one making the decision.  The expectation that the judge will uphold the law with dignity, fairness and integrity; but also, to dispense justice with grace and civility based upon the law and facts as presented to make fair and impartial judicial decisions.  To have a moral compass that does not waiver, where the public trust is not hampered by questioning the independence of the judiciary.  With strong moral principles, complete candor and respect for yourself and others, always.

I believe in civility to all without judgment.  Respect for the law and every individual who enters the courtroom and upon exit those same individuals are satisfied that they have received a fair trial by an interested knowledgeable judge. Restoration of faith and trust that the judge has made fair and impartial decisions free from bias or prejudice.  Common courtesy, patience and ensuring a courtroom atmosphere that reflects a genuine interest in the matter before the court as well as knowing that the judge understands the importance and gravity of the issues which brought citizens in to the courtroom for resolution regardless of their situation in life, gender, race, socio-economic status.  This is not just a job and you go home at 5 pm, the decisions impact real lives of individuals, not only today, but, everyday into the future.

Marissa Joan Brumbach, Esquire