The Pennsylvania State Association of Jury Commissioners has appealed the decision of the Commonwealth Court granting counties the right to abolish the elected jury commissioner positions. The association is challenging a provision in Act 108 of 2011 that allows county commissioners to abolish the office. The state Supreme Court will decide the appeal, and it may be the association’s last opportunity to save the jobs of its members.
The Commonwealth Court determined that jury commissioners held a county office and were not under the judicial branch. Therefore, county commissioners can choose to abolish the office. The association, however, claims that Commonwealth Court’s decision was made in error.
The association is arguing that there is a violation of the separation of powers. County commissioners have both legislative and executive powers, but they do not have judicial power. The association asserts, “[T]he office of jury commissioner was a judiciary code office and not an executive or legislative office and therefore should not be lumped under the powers of the county commissioners. … The law is tantamount to the executive branch of government moving against and regulating the judicial branch and is a violation of separation of powers.”