Why we shouldn’t Impeach the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices


Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Isaac Degenholtz, Website Director

In a flurry of paperwork, Pennsylvania Republican Party members have filed legislation to impeach four Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices.

On March 19th a panel of federal judges dismissed the suit filed by the PA GOP that asked for a reversal on the PA Supreme Court’s decision to change the states congressional map. This dismissal was then followed by the United States Supreme Court rejecting the suit as well. This all but ends litigation about the new map which readers of the Eagle may remember makes the state as a whole more competitive for house seats.

Although many see the gerrymandering case as a resolved issue, a small group of Republicans have called for the impeachment of the Democratic judges that overturned the map. While it is legal under the Pennsylvania Constitution to impeach justices, this would be a completely absurd move and an embarrassment to the state. Impeachment would not only undermine the entire checks and balances system. By doing this the General Assembly sends a signal that if they disagree with what the court has done they can just replace them. This would be a dangerous precedent for both Pennsylvania and the country as a whole since it would mean the legislative branch can dismantle the judicial branch when they are unhappy with a situation.

Although it is unlikely the Pennsylvania legislature would move to impeach these justices, even having a few congressional delegates moving to impeach shows a disinterest in the governmental process as it is meant to be.  Each branch of government needs to be evenly balanced with checks and balances being used to keep the systems in check instead of abusing a power to push a political agenda.

What can we do? Well as students very little can be done except emphasis our support for the justices whether or not we agree with their decision. It is important to respect the decision of the highest legal power in the state whether or not you in particular agree with it. Additionally, those who disagree with the justices can go out and vote. PA Supreme Court judges are elected so if you want a more conservative bench, go and vote, and if you want to keep the bench the same go and vote! Don’t let the PA Congress decide who sits on your bench, decide yourself!