Harrisburg- Calling a fair judicial system a top priority for Pennsylvania voters in 2017, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) today released its first-ever voter education guide for the 2017 Statewide Appellate Court races. The guide, along with completed candidate questionnaires, is available here. “Pennsylvania’s appellate courts have a tremendous responsibility and impact every citizen, business, school, healthcare organization, property owner and local government,” said PCCJR Executive Director Curt Schroder. “It’s important for voters to carefully consider the candidates, their experience and perspective on legal issues when determining who will earn their support.”
In 2017, Pennsylvanians will be electing seven new members to the Commonwealth’s three appellate courts: one justice to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, four judges to the Superior Court and two judges to the Commonwealth Court. These courts are charged with interpreting statutes and prior precedent, establishing case law as well as making determinations as to whether lower courts applied the law correctly. In some cases, appellate courts even establish policy and new law. These rulings impact every citizen of the commonwealth and impact the economy, healthcare, schools, businesses, local government, the environment and numerous other areas of policy.
“PCCJR developed this election guide to help voters zero in on issues and judicial philosophies that will undoubtedly help shape the courts and future court decisions,” Schroder said. “We are grateful to the candidates who chose to participate and hope that the voters will find it both informative and useful in formulating their decisions in November.”
Recent surveys revealed that 85% of the businesses responding said that a state’s litigation environment is likely to impact where they will do business. This percentage is up from 75% in 2015 and 70% in 2012. The same survey found Pennsylvania mired at 38th in the nation for its litigation climate. In fact the City of Philadelphia made the list of Cities or Counties with the least favorable litigation environment.
Pennsylvania also scored low for its “Quality of Appellate Review,” coming in 34th. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform estimates that Pennsylvania could raise its employment rate by 1.5% if meaningful litigation reform is enacted.
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform is a 501(c )(6), not-for-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization comprised of a diverse group of organizations and individuals committed to bringing fairness to Pennsylvania’s courts by raising awareness of civil justice issues and advocating for legal reform. Additional information is available at http://www.paforciviljusticereform.org, https://www.facebook.com/paciviljustice/ or https://twitter.com/paciviljustice.