State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

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GOP rep. introduces resolutions to impeach Supreme Court justices

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Mar 21, 2018 5:26 AM

People walk by the Pennsylvania Judicial Center Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


(Harrisburg) -- A Republican state lawmaker has introduced a number of resolutions to impeach all but one of Pennsylvania's five Democratic Supreme Court Justices.

The move was prompted by the Democratic-majority court invalidating the commonwealth's 2011 congressional map, and then drawing a new one themselves after lawmakers missed the short deadline justices gave them to fix it.

To impeach the justices, Representative Cris Dush's four measures would have to get majority votes in the House, and then two-thirds votes in the Senate.

In his memo to fellow Republicans, the Indiana County lawmaker wrote that the four justices' decision to invalidate the map and draw a new one "blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution."

He hasn't introduced a resolution for the court's fifth Democrat--Justice Max Baer--because while Baer agreed the 2011 map was unconstitutional, he didn't want to redraw it on an abbreviated timeline.

 It's unclear if Dush has support from GOP leaders.    

House Republican Spokesman Steve Miskin said there have been no discussions on the resolutions, and added, "it is not a decision to be made lightly."

But Miskin also noted, caucus leaders do believe the court acted improperly--even though its ruling was upheld by the US Supreme Court and another federal court. 

He said "every member has the right to form an opinion and draft legislation," and "there are members who want to initiate impeachment, particularly in regards to the behavior of Justice Wecht."

Republicans have accused Justice David Wecht of bias, based on disparaging comments he made about Pennsylvania's congressional map during his campaign for court justice.

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