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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: September 17, 2021 09:36 AM
From: Representative Clint Owlett
To: All House members
Subject: Constitutional Amendment to Provide for 6-year Judicial Terms
When the House returns to session, I will introduce a joint resolution to amend Article V, Section 15 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. This section of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides for the tenure of minor court judges, judges in the courts of common pleas, Commonwealth and Superior Courts and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. My legislation will amend Article V, Section 15 to provide for a 6-year term of office for all Pennsylvania judges and justices.  
Currently, Pennsylvania magisterial district judges along with other minor court judges are elected to 6-year terms, while Courts of Common Pleas judges, Appellate court jurists and Supreme Court judges are elected to 10-year terms. My joint resolution will provide uniformity and consistency in the terms of office for all Pennsylvania jurists.
Among the 20 most populous states where judges and justices are elected to office, only six (California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Louisiana) provide for judicial tenure of 10 or more years. The overwhelming majority of these states provide for judicial tenures between 6 and 8-year terms. This includes our neighboring state of Ohio, which elects jurists to a 6-year term.
I hope you will join me in supporting this important judicial reform effort by cosponsoring my joint resolution. 

Introduced as HB1898