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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 8, 2020 02:51 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Fair Judicial Districts Law
In the near future I will be reintroducing a joint resolution to amend the Constitution to change the way we elect appellate court judges.
Specifically, my legislation (if ratified by voters) would divide the Commonwealth into nine (9) Commonwealth Court districts, fifteen (15) Superior Court districts, and seven (7) Supreme Court districts. 

These districts would be defined by the General Assembly following the redistricting principles found in our Constitution, requiring populations as equal as possible in each district with compact and contiguous geographic boundaries, and would comport with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Candidates for appellate seats would be required to reside in the district they would represent on the court.
Pursuant to Article XI of the Pennsylvania Constitution, this constitutional amendment must be passed by the House and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions.  This proposal passed the House and Senate in the 2019-2020 legislative session and should it be passed again during the 2021-2022 legislative session, the question will be put to the voters of Pennsylvania who will ultimately decide whether the Commonwealth should have diversity within our appellate courts.

Should Pennsylvanians choose to make this change, we would join nearly a dozen states that select judges and justices for either some or all of their appellate courts via regional judicial district elections.

This legislation would preserve the right of the people to select their judges and justices while ensuring that the diversity of Pennsylvania and the uniqueness of its various regions would be more accurately reflected in the election of appellant judges.
I invite you to join me in support the Fair Judicial Districts Law.