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Judges should rule on what’s legal, not what’s popular

KATHLEEN O’CONNELL

Lemont

As a social studies teacher, I explained to 11 year olds the balance of power between three branches of government. The executive branch (the governor) implements laws; the legislative branch (PA House and Senate, aka the General Assembly) write; and the Judicial Branch makes sure those laws are actually legal. Judges are beholden to the PA Constitution, and laws representatives write, and governors sign.

But a bill snaking its way through the Pennsyvlania legislature would make judges bow to politics rather than law. Right now, all judges are elected by all Pennsylvanians. House Bill 38 proposes a constitutional amendment that would gerrymander Pennsylvania into Judicial Districts to elect judges from different slices of the PA electoral pie.

This would force judges to pander to different localities, rather than paying attention to the Constitution, laws and judicial precedent. Judges should base their decisions on what is legal, not what is popular. This amendment would erase their neutrality and make the bench political.

This law would give the legislative branch power over the judicial branch. The social studies teacher in me is appalled.

We already have enough partisan politics. We need clear-thinking, unencumbered judges. This is a bad bill and representatives should vote NO on HB 38. If they force this on the people of PA, the people should vote NO on this amendment.

Eleven year olds will thank you for keeping Pennsylvania judges non-partisan.

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