(WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules on the controversial issues of the day, but one justice wants to be judged by how well the judicial system treats the most vulnerable among us.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty rules on all issues that cover a variety of topics. But he wants to be gauged by how well he’s helping citizens with autism navigate the justice system.

Dougherty says it began years ago when he was a Philadelphia judge and he was planning to throw the book at a young person he thought was being belligerent.

“The mom pulled me aside and told me he had Asperger’s and I was kind of, felt kind of embarrassed and ignorant because I had no idea what Asperger’s was,” Dougherty said.

Get the latest Pennsylvania politics and election news with abc27 newsletters!

That moment sparked Dougherty’s education on all things autism.

“I’m supposed to be doing the right thing and here I’m ready to do the wrong thing and punish this child for life. I decided that through self-education, I’ll do self-reform. Self-reform leads to judicial reform,” Dougherty added.

Dougherty first took his autism awareness program to the Philadelphia courts and then statewide when he reached the supreme court. He said judges, district attorneys and lawyers across Pennsylvania have embraced it.

“If your behaviors are something you can’t control because of a neurological complexity, then maybe I should be a little more sensitive to that if I want to do the right thing,” Dougherty said. “I just want them to have an equal shot at justice.”

Dougherty knows partisans have blasted the courts for being “too political,” but he says it’s just not so. He’s a Democrat from Philadelphia who ruled against Governor Wolf’s school mask mandate and ruled that mail-in ballots not dated and signed should be tossed — both positions normally associated with Republicans.

“That black robe is not a blue robe, nor is it a red robe. It’s black. And that people have to understand that. The problem is that everybody loves politics and they are always going to be haters out there who want to take the good things that we do based upon the facts and the law and try to, you know, somehow inject the vitriol of partisan politics,” Dougherty added.

abc27 asked Dougherty about the gun control bills the house recently passed and critics call unconstitutional, but he said he could not comment because those bills may come before him.