Rep. Tony DeLuca condemns GOP effort to undermine state courts

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – Today, State Rep. Tony DeLuca, D-Allegheny, forcefully spoke out against H.B. 38, calling it a Republican attempt to undermine Pennsylvania's justice system by creating regional voting districts for electing appellate court judges, including those on the state Supreme Court. 

"Let's call this what it is -- a blatant Republican attempt to pack Pennsylvania's courts because Republicans have lost several court cases," DeLuca said. "In retaliation, Republicans are trying to remake the courts."

House Bill 38 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would reconstruct Pennsylvania's court system. Currently, appellate court judges are elected in statewide elections. House Bill 38 would change this and create a court system with judicial districts drawn up by the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans. 

DeLuca stated "House Bill 38 will put political judges on the bench and give Pennsylvanians controversial rulings meant to satisfy voters in a judge's district. I oppose this bill because the Pennsylvania courts that shape Pennsylvania law should be elected by all Pennsylvanians."

In addition to concerns over political gerrymandering, DeLuca noted that some judicial districts would likely be "prison gerrymandered." 

Prison gerrymandering occurs when incarcerated people -- many of whom are barred from voting -- are counted as part of the population in a judicial or legislative district. This artificially inflates the district's population and gives power to a smaller group of voters. Many prisons in PA are in rural areas.

"Justice should be equal for everyone and not subject to the whims of partisan judges or politicians in Harrisburg," DeLuca said. "I strongly urge my Republican colleagues to think of the greater good and stop trying to upend our judicial system."

DeLuca urged Pennsylvanians who oppose this bill to contact Republican representatives and ask them to support their right to vote for all appellate judges in statewide elections, since they all play a part in deciding state law. Contact information for Pennsylvania state representatives can be found here