The nomination of a Pennsylvania judge to the state’s Supreme Court hit a road block on Friday after the Centre Daily Times reported that he once sent an allegedly racist email.
Judge Thomas K. Kistler (R), who was nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf (D), reportedly sent a holiday card via email in December 2013 that contained a photo of a black man and a black woman during a jail visit. The photo, framed by Santa Claus and a reindeer, was entitled “Merry Christmas From the Johnsons.”
Kistler forwarded the message to 22 people that included prosecutors and other members of the criminal justice system, along with the subject line “Touching and heart-warming. Merry Christmas to ALL!” The message was signed “JK.”
Kistler on Friday confirmed that he had sent the email, but denied that racism had anything to do with it.
“There was absolutely no ill intent,” the Centre County judge told the Daily Times. “It was a comment about how lightly people take being incarcerated.”