According to an Associated Press article, the spotlight is once again on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court which is facing three tough, politically charged cases. Pennsylvania’s highest court is scheduled to decide cases involving Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, the right of a municipality to decide the location of drilling activity, and a controversial redistricting plan.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the 7 member Supreme Court is operating with only six justices due to the pending charges against because Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been suspended due to pending charges against her for alleged campaign activities. Although it is impossible to predict how the justices will vote, some court observers are concerned that the decision will be split 3-3 along party lines. If that happens, the decision of the lower court would be upheld.
PMC Executive Director, Lynn Marks explained that the timing of these cases is unfortunate. “It’s just a horrible time for the court to be in this situation.” Regardless of the breakdown of the vote, if there is a 3-3 split and the lower court’s decisions are automatically upheld, it will undermine public confidence in the Pennsylvania justice system.