Pennsylvania's Hugely Significant Obscure Election
I thought I knew about all of the important votes that were taking place Tuesday, but clearly I was wrong. In Pennsylvania, a judicial election ...
I thought I knew about all of the important votes that were taking place Tuesday, but clearly I was wrong. In Pennsylvania, a judicial election may determine which party controls the state legislature for the next decade.
The explanation why is fairly convoluted. In Pennsylvania, legislative redistricting (not congressional redistricting) is conducted by a five-member commission. Four members of that commission are picked by the majority and minority leaders of each house of the legislature (so two Republicans and two Democrats). Those four members are supposed to select the fifth member.
If they can't agree (and everyone seems to presume they won't be able to) the state Supreme Court chooses the fifth member. That means that in Pennsylvania, which elects its judges, control of the court is key. Here's more from the Philadelphia Inquirer on the election this fall that will determine which party has a majority on the court (I'm not sure why the Inquirer mentions congressional redistricting because Pennsylvania is not a state where congressional districts are redrawn by a commission):
Except for the mild heat generated by a recent round of TV ads, the Supreme Court battle next Tuesday between Orie Melvin, a Republican, and Democrat Jack Panella has received little public notice. Turnout for the election may be the lowest in Pennsylvania in years.
But state Democratic leaders are just as frank as top Republicans in saying that to them, the court fight is all-important. It could influence the once-a-decade remapping of congressional and legislative districts after the 2010 U.S. Census.
Both parties are keenly aware that the six justices who will still be on the court next year are split 3-3 in terms of party affiliation.
(Hat tip: Election Law Blog)
This story highlights the difficulty in designing a redistricting commission that is truly non-partisan or bipartisan. It also is a good reminder that judicial elections tend to be about almost anything other than who is qualified to be a judge.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
The Week in Public Finance: Taxes, Drought and a Nod to the Baha Men1 day ago
How Data Can Improve Transit Efficiency1 day ago
Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested on Drug Charges1 day ago
States Trying to Figure Out Whether Entertainment Tax Credits Really Work1 day ago
Chris Christie Rails Against Estate Taxes New Jersey Needs1 day ago
Public Defender: San Francisco Jail Guards Forced Inmates to Fight Each Other1 day ago