Pennsylvania GOP pressure for more power over judiciary raises alarm bells

Feb 15, 2021 Travel News

Pennsylvania GOP pressure for more power over judiciary raises alarm bells

She added, “It‘s far too much control for one branch to have over another branch, especially where one of its responsibilities is to rule over the excesses of the legislative branch.”

If the Republican bill becomes law, Pennsylvania would become just the fifth state in the country, after Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Illinois, to fully map its justice system into constituencies, according to the Brennan Center. And other states could soon join Pennsylvania in trying to redraw the courts.

Republicans in the Texas legislature, which is also controlled by the GOP, recently introduced a bill that would move districts to state courts of appeals by moving certain counties to different districts, causing an uproar among Democrats in State who saw the new districts as weakening the vote. power of black and Latin American communities in judicial elections and potentially adding to the Republican tilt of Texas courts.

Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, called the bill a “pure takeover designed to prevent blacks and Latinos from influencing the courts as their numbers in the state increase.” .

These judicial redistribution battles are taking shape as Republican-controlled legislatures across the country explore new restrictions on voting after the 2020 election. In Georgia, Republicans in the state legislature seek a host of new laws that would make voting more difficult, including banning drop-off boxes and imposing drastic restrictions on postal voting. Similar bills in Arizona would limit mail-in voting, including banning the state from sending mail-in vote requests. And in Texas, Republican lawmakers want to limit early voting periods.

The Republicans’ national effort follows a successful four-year campaign by party lawmakers in Washington to reshape the federal court system with conservative judges. Led by Senator Mitch McConnell, until recently Majority Leader, and Mr. Trump, the Senate confirmed 231 federal justices, as well as three new Supreme Court justices, during the four-year tenure of the former president, according to data maintained by Russell Wheeler, a researcher at the Brookings Institution.

In a state like Pennsylvania, which has two densely populated democratic cities and large rural areas, this could give sparsely populated and more conservative places disproportionate representation, particularly if lawmakers resort to a gerrymandering tactic similar to that used. in Pennsylvania in 2011.