Pennsylvania’s highest court is the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The court has five justices and one chief justice, who is the longest-serving member of the court. (Source: Pennsylvania Constitution)
Justices on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania are selected to a 10-year term through a partisan election, where multiple candidates may vie for the seat. Justices may seek additional 10-year terms through standing in an unopposed yes/no retention vote. When a seat opens in the middle of a justice’s term, the governor appoints a candidate to fill the vacancy. The governor’s selection must be confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the state senate. The appointed justice holds office until the next municipal election more than 10 months after the vacancy opened, unless the remainder of the seat’s term runs out before then. The elected justice serves a 10-year term. There are no term limits. The mandatory retirement age is 75.
Pennsylvania has had five state constitutions adopted between 1776 and 1968. As of January 1, 2022, it had 36 amendments. (Source: Council of State Governments)
The candidates for an open seat on Pennsylvania’s supreme court have very different approaches to legal interpretation.
State courts — and to some degree federal courts — play a significant role in every stage of the direct democracy process.
The founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, Maya van Rossum, discusses the impact of enshrining environmental rights in state constitutions.
All but one state constitution affirmatively establishes a right to vote.
The outcome could have big implications for abortion rights, elections, and more.
The case raises state constitutional challenges to a law giving the legislature sole authority over gun regulation.