Three state Supreme Court justices showed a disturbing lack of judgment by jetting off to Puerto Rico after jettisoning Pennsylvania's plan for the legislative districts that were supposed to be used in the April primary.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 decision - without providing specifics - that the redistricting plan passed by the Legislature was unconstitutional. It was the first time in 50 years that the decennial process of redrawing legislative districts to address population changes has not been affirmed, Capitolwire reports.
The decision was stunning and has thrown the election process in limbo.
Until the majority justices issue their opinion that provides specifics on what they found unconstitutional, the Legislative Reapportionment Commission, which is responsible for developing a redistricting plan, cannot determine how much time might be required to address the problems.
It could be days or months.
That's a problem for candidates, who are supposed to be circulating nominating petitions, even though they don't know who might wind up in their districts or even if their districts will still exist.
Nominating petitions are to be filed in less than three weeks.
Given the urgency of the issue and the need to provide guidance quickly, it's disturbing that three of the Supreme Court justices decided to attend a Pennsylvania Bar Association conference in Puerto Rico that ran from Thursday through Saturday.
Chief Justice Ronald Castille of Philadelphia, Justice Michael Eakin of Mechanicsburg and Justice Max Baer of Mount Lebanon were panelists at the conference, the Tribune-Review reported. Castille and Baer were two of the four justices who voted to reject the new legislative districts.
Instead of heading to sunny San Juan, the justices should have been burning the midnight oil in Pennsylvania working their colleagues to finish the majority and minority opinions on this case.
Given the ramifications of their Wednesday ruling, working to quickly issue the formal opinions on the redistricting plan should have been the justices' top and only priority. Clearly, it wasn't. Otherwise, they would have jettisoned their Puerto Rican jaunt.