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Gerrymander courts can’t be tolerated

The Pennsylvania Republican legislators are poised to pass a second vote to adopt a constitutional amendment that gives them total control over who can and cannot be on the state Supreme Court.

By creating “judicial districts” to replace statewide elections, they propose a frightening new form of gerrymandering that threatens the independence of our judiciary. Though they claim it will create “more diversity,” it is a weak argument.

The assembly will effectively manipulate the courts by drawing district lines to favor judges of the majority party and exclude others. Their underhanded objective is to punish and eliminate the Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court.

The voters will no longer be able to select all our appellate justices.

In July, the first vote on this judicial districting bill was rushed through with very little explanation, no hearings or public discussion. As a constitutional amendment, it must pass a second vote before proceeding to voters for approval in May.

The GOP hopes nobody pays attention in early January when they slip the bill through in the new legislative session.

Please call your local legislators now. Tell Jake Corman, Kerry Benninghoff, Richard Irvin, Stephanie Borowicz and Scott Conklin to vote no for judicial districts. Tell them to keep their hands off our right to vote for all the statewide appellate justices.

Say no to gerrymandering our courts. Our democracy is in danger.

Barbara Neumuller

Port Matilda

(The writer is co-coordinator for Fair Districts PA Centre County.)

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