MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 12, 2018 12:42 PM
From: Representative Russ Diamond
To: All House members
Subject: Regional Appellate Court Districts
In the near future I will be introducing legislation (2015-16 HB2210; 2017-18 HB829) to amend the PA Constitution to change the way Pennsylvania elects appellate court judges. Specifically, my legislation would divide the Commonwealth into nine (9) Commonwealth Court districts, fifteen (15) Superior Court districts, and seven (7) Supreme Court districts.

These districts would be defined by the General Assembly following the redistricting principles found in our Constitution, requiring populations as equal as possible in each district with compact and contiguous geographic boundaries, and would comport with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Candidates for appellate seats would be required to reside in the district they seek to represent on the court.

Eleven other states (Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) select judges and justices for either some or all of their appellate courts via regional judicial district elections.

Currently, over 60 percent of appellate court seats are held by residents of just two counties. Pennsylvania is a diverse Commonwealth, and our appellate courts ought to reflect that diversity. My legislation will also go far in improving the chances that voters can identify with candidates for appellate court seats.

I urge you to join me in preserving the right to elect judges and justices, and providing for judicial diversity, by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Previous co-sponsors: CAUSER, DUSH, EMRICK, EVERETT, GILLEN, IRVIN, JAMES, KAUFFMAN, MILLARD, B. MILLER, NELSON, ORTITAY, RADER, RAPP, ROTHMAN, RYAN, SAYLOR, WARD & WARNER

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