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Pennsylvania House Bill 38 proposes to amend Article V: The Judiciary sections of the Pennsylvania Constitution to change the method by which statewide appellate court judges are selected. This amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution will go before voters as a ballot initiative. If voters ratify the change, appellate judges would be elected by regional judicial districts drawn by the Legislature based on population. Under the bill the Justices of the Supreme Court would be elected from seven separate judicial districts, the judges on the Superior Court would be elected from 15 separate judicial districts and the judges on the Commonwealth Court would be elected from nine separate judicial districts.

Upon recommendation of its Court Relations Committee, the Washington County Bar Association Board of Directors approved a resolution opposing the bill and supporting a judiciary which is removed from the influences of the political process and possesses institutional and decisional independence.

Judges must, if they are to properly carry out their duties to our citizens and the commonwealth, be responsive to the law and not to the momentary demands of a constituency. A judge’s job is to follow and apply the law. House Bill 38 would create discrete districts that will cause pressure for judges to respond to constituents, not the law.

Hon. Damon J. Faldowski

Judge Faldowski is the Court Relations Committee Chairperson and immediate past president of the Washington County Bar Association.