Log In

Genevieve Blatt Edit Profile

State judge

Genevieve Blatt was an American politician and attorney from Pennsylvania, and a member of the Democratic Party.

Background

Blatt, Genevieve was born on June 19, 1913 in East Brady, Pennsylvania, United States. Daughter of George F. and Clara (Laurent) Blatt.

Education

Bachelor of Arts Pittsburgh, 1933. Master of Arts, University Pittsburgh, 1934. Juris Doctor, University Pittsburgh, 1937.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), St. Francis College, 1959. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Villanova University, 1960. Doctor of Laws (honorary), St. Joseph's University, 1964.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Barry College, 1966. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Seton Hill College, 1968. Doctor of Laws (honorary), LaSalle University, 1970.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Elizabethtown College, 1974. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Dickinson College Law, 1974. Doctor of Laws (honorary), York College, Pennsylvania, 1975.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), St. Charles Seminary, 1975. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Cedarcrest College, 1976. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales, 1976.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Shippensburg University, 1987. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Wilson College, 1987. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Millerville University, 1989.

Doctor of Laws (honorary), Lock Haven University, 1990. Doctor of Laws (honorary), Harrisburg Area Community College, 1991.

Career

A native of East Brady, Clarion County, Blatt received a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1933, and an M.A. from the school in 1934. She received a J.D. from Pittsburgh's law school in 1937. Blatt became secretary and chief examiner of the Pittsburgh Civil Service Commission in 1938, and went on to serve as an assistant city solicitor.

Blatt became active in Democratic politics in the 1930s, beginning with her selection as a delegate to the 1936 Democratic National Convention, where she was the first delegate to vote for Roosevelt. She went on to attend every succeeding convention through 1972. Blatt later served on the National Committee's policy committee, and was vice chair of the Pennsylvania delegation to the 1956 convention.

She made her first run for elected office in 1950, when she unsuccessfully sought the office of State Auditor General. Four years later, she became the first woman to hold statewide elected office in Pennsylvania, when she was elected State Secretary of Internal Affairs. Blatt was re-elected in 1958 and 1962 but lost her bid for a fourth term in 1966, when she was narrowly defeated by Republican John Tabor.

The office of Internal Affairs Secretary, which had long been considered for elimination, was dissolved in 1968. In 1964, Blatt challenged incumbent Republican Senator Hugh Scott, who was seeking a second term. She narrowly defeated the 1950 nominee for Lieutenant Governor Michael Musmanno, by about 500 votes out of over 900,000 cast, in the Democratic primary.

Scott used a strong performance in the southeast corner of the state, including the suburban Philadelphia counties of Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks, to score a narrow victory in an otherwise bleak election cycle for state and national Republicans. Following her defeat to Scott, Blatt remained active in State Democratic politics, and was elected to one of the state's slots on the Democratic National Committee from June 23, 1970 to May 25, 1972. She was preceded by Emma Guffey Miller and succeeded by Rita Wilson Kane.

She resigned from the national committee in 1972, following her appointment to a seat on the Commonwealth Court by Governor Milton Shapp. Blatt served on the court until her retirement at the end of 1993, easily surviving multiple retention votes. One of her most notable rulings on the court was the establishment of the precedent that high school sports teams in Pennsylvania could no longer discriminate on the basis of gender.

Blatt died at a retirement home in Hampden Township in July 1996. The Genevieve Society, a non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the political and professional power of women in Pennsylvania, is named in her honor.

Achievements

  • Bar: Pennsylvania 1938.

Membership

Board directors Center for Research in Apostolate, 1972-1975, 80-85, member advisory council National Conference Catholic Bishops, 1972-1975. Member National Bishops Bicentennial Committee, 1974-1976. Chairman Harrisburg Diocesan Bicentennial Committee, 1974-1976.

Secretary Pennsylvania Democratic Committee, 1948-1970. Democratic nominee for auditor general Pennsylvania, 1952. Delegate Democratic National Conventions, 1936-1968.

Democratic nominee for United States Senate, 1964. Democratic national committeewoman Pennsylvania, 1970-1972. Fellow Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson Libraries.

President James A. Finnegan Fellowship Foundation, 1960-1989, honorary since 1990. Member American Bar Foundation, American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Dauphin County Bar Association, American Judicature Society, National Association Women Judges, National Association Women Lawyers, League of Women Voters (award 1964), Business and Professional Women, Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary, National Council Catholic Women, National Catholic Women's Union, Mortar Board, Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Rho, Pi Tau Phi, Pi Sigma Alpha, Beta Sigma Phi, Delta Kappa Sigma. Lodges: Eagles (honorary, Liberty Under Law award 1980), Soroptimists (honorary), Equestrian Order of Knights and Ladies of Holy Sepulchre Vatican (Commander 1978), Altrusa (honorary), Zonta (honorary).

Connections

father:
George F. Blatt

mother:
Clara (Laurent) Blatt