Speaking Out for the People in Pennsylvania

March 27, 2012

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania’s House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legislation that would abolish the right of Pennsylvania voters to choose their judges and hand that power over to an unelected, unaccountable commission.  The hearing was stacked with “merit” selection proponents, many of which are charter members of the Soros network.  Still, a few witnesses willing to stand up for the rights of ordinary citizens did manage to squeeze their way into the hearing, including Widener Law School Professor Randy Lee.  Among the highlights of his testimony:

“We elect judges in Pennsylvania because historically the people of the Commonwealth have recognized that people should have a say in who will rule their lives ….One might, in fact, fairly argue that judges are the elected officials with the most direct and personal power over our lives.”

“ … there is a presumption in America that decisions are to be made democratically unless there is a particularly good reason not to make them that way.  To reflect the depth and strength of this presumption, we call the right to vote a fundamental right.”

“ … it must be noted that the citizens of Pennsylvania are regularly entrusted with other decisions associated with the justice system and seem to perform them admirably….Given that we consider the participation of citizens vital to the determination of guilt or innocence in courts, one would assume we would consider these same people capable of selecting judges.”

“ … we entrust citizens with the election of the Attorney General and county district attorneys, and these positions require as much legal expertise and commitment to justice as does the position of judge.  If the Commonwealth were to determine that the people were not fit to continue to select judges, the case could be made that they should not be electing these other law related officers either.”

“ … the bill allows for the possibility that some appellate judges might be appointed in such a way that there would be no one the people could hold accountable for the appointment.”

Thanks to Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts for posting this testimony.

Posted by in the categories: Judicial Elections, Merit Selection, Pennsylvania