What is judicial
Why is the GOP-led state
Angry at being held accountable by the courts, Pennsylvania’s legislative majority is advancing an unprecedented bill that would take voters’ power over our courts away, eviscerate judicial independence and disenfranchise nine million Pennsylvanians’ judicial votes.
Whether you support electing judges or not, this scheme is alarming in that it would make Pennsylvania’s courts the most politically tainted and chaotic in the nation.
This bill would give the legislature unchecked power over the courts while stealing the voice of Pennsylvania voters in selecting and holding accountable 90% of statewide judges. Never in our history has such an effort been made to disenfranchise voters and politicize the judicial branch.
Call your state lawmakers!
We need YOU to call both of your Pennsylvania lawmakers to tell them that you oppose judicial gerrymandering and you expect them to vote against HB 38!
" I am calling to ask_______ to oppose Rep. Diamond's proposed amendment (HB38) to elect members of the Supreme Court, Commonwealth Court, and Superior Court in districts drawn by the General Assembly.
Judges for statewide courts interpret the law for the entire state, not individual regions. So judicial elections should be for the entire state, not individual regions. And this proposed constitutional amendment would upset the separation of powers, tipping the balance in favor of the legislative branch."
More talking points
Protect Judicial Independence
Unfortunately, the push to overrule voters’ choices about who should represent them on our appellate courts would bring the worst of Washington, DC’s politics to Pennsylvania by threatening the independence of our judiciary. The proposal to create politician-drawn districts is not designed to increase accountability, but to create a partisan advantage through gerrymandering and allow the legislative majority to punish jurists with whom they disagree. This will force judges to be beholden to politics, not the people, law or Constitution.
Disenfranchising Nine Million PA Voters
Harrisburg’s judicial districts scheme would be the largest disenfranchisement of Pennsylvania voters in history. Nine million PA voters would be robbed of their ability to select and provide a check on every judge sitting on a statewide court. If judges are going to be elected, all Pennsylvanians should be able vote for every judge and justice. They make decisions together for all of us based on the law, not based on their representation of local interests. We must protect every voters’ right to choose who has the best ability to interpret the law fairly for all of us.
Justice Should Be Blind, Not Rigged
The courts play a vital role in protecting all of our rights. They give us recourse when we are injured or subject to injustice. Giving the legislature control over the courts and injecting more partisanship into justice provides a backdoor way for special interests to influence court decisions in ways that reduce the protection we count on. Wealthy special interests and partisan politicians would be able to gerrymander the courts and take away voters’ power to select all judges and hold them accountable.
Don’t Steal Pennsylvanians’ Voice
Pennsylvania voters selected 31 judges in free and fair elections but this scheme would take away both those choices and voters’ ability to hold every single judge accountable. Pennsylvania residents would no longer have a say in the selection or retention of the very judges that would decide cases about their lives and communities. Our system now allows voters to hold judges accountable but this law would silence every voter and give politicians in Harrisburg the power over our courts.
Don’t Make Our System Worse
Many Pennsylvanians, good government groups and legal experts believe we should make our judicial selection process less political. Stunningly, this plan would make it even worse. This scheme is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Judges should serve as a check on other branches of government but this plan would make them beholden to the political interests of the legislature. Statewide courts make statewide decisions that impact every resident of the Commonwealth. They should serve all residents, not political or regional constituencies.
GOP lawmaker opposes HB 38:
“We have three separate but co-equal branches of government, and I think that this amendment interferes with that,” says Pennsylvania Rep. Natalie Mihalek, an Upper St. Clair Republican.
Mihalek says she strongly opposes Diamond’s amendment because it “politicizes” statewide judges, making them beholden to litigants from their region, just like state representatives and senators.
“I answer to the residents of the 40th District. It shouldn’t be like that for our judges on the appellate courts. They answer to the laws of the Commonwealth.”
For more, check out this 01/26/21 article from Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate