Is a Nominated Commission Appointed to Assist the Governor In Selecting a Common Pleas Judge An Agency Under the Sunshine Act ?

In Ristau v. Casey, 167 Pa. Commw. 118, 647 A.2d 642 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1994), the Court concluded that a trial court nominating commission, appointed by executive order to assist the Governor in selecting a common pleas judge to fill a vacancy, was not an agency as defined by the Sunshine Act. In Ristau, the complainant relied on the "similar organization" language in the Act's agency definition. However, the Court held the nomination commission was not an agency under the Act. It was neither created by statute nor statutorily authorized to perform any essential government function. Rather, its purpose was to make recommendations to the Governor. The Court also noted that the commission did not exercise any governmental authority.