Pennsylvania is a very chummy state, especially where politics and the legal community are concerned. Judges are where those two intersect. Given that, it's only natural that lawyers and parties with close ties to a particular judge may come before him or her. The common sense thing to do when a friend or close political ally appears before you is to recuse yourself, right? . . . What judges fail to understand, time and again, is that it is not a question of whether a judge's actions are bad. It's whether they appear bad and potentially undermine the public's confidence in the courts.