Written by Steph Schreyer, New Holland. This piece was first published on January 30, 2021 in LancasterOnline/LNP. Reprinted here with permission from the author.
I am really scratching my head when it comes to state House Bill 38, a proposed amendment to the state constitution to organize the state judiciary into geographic districts and further provide for residency requirements.
It’s been a while since my civics class, but I believe our state legislators are the ones who are supposed to reflect their constituents. I am not a legal scholar, but I believe judges decide cases to resolve controversies in accordance with the rule of law. They are supposed to interpret and apply statutes passed by the legislative branch and determine whether those acts violate the state’s laws or constitution.
I think the measure of a good judge is not where they come from in the state or if they are similar to me in any way. Judges are supposed to be unbiased experts in the rule of law. This is not the best analogy, but when you are really sick, it doesn’t matter where the doctor is from. What matters is the doctor’s competence and expertise.
State House Bill 38, sponsored by state Rep. Russ Diamond, is, in my view, an insult to the citizens of the great state of Pennsylvania.
According to the National Center for State Courts, only two states use these sort of regional, partisan elections that Diamond is proposing — Illinois and Louisiana. Only two! Pennsylvania is considered the birthplace of our nation’s democracy. Write your representative and tell them Pennsylvania can do better than this!
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