The tense political climate in Harrisburg will influence who Gov. Tom Wolf may nominate to replace Justice J. Michael Eakin on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, as well as the likelihood of that individual gaining approval of two-thirds of the state Senate, attorneys and court observers said.

Spurred on by long-simmering budget discussions between Wolf, a Democrat, and the Republican-controlled Senate, political gridlock makes a moderate Republican the most likely choice to fill the seat of Eakin, a Republican who retired from the court March 15 with an ethics trial looming. Court watchers also said a successful nominee will likely need to pledge not to run for the open seat in next year’s election.

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