Your Vote for Appellate Court Candidates Matters



November 2 is fast approaching and whether you’re mailing in your ballot or voting at your local polling place, take the time to learn about this year’s state appellate court candidates. Pennsylvania is one of the few states in the nation which elects those who serve on its higher courts, known as the appellate courts. Unlike the lower court judges in Pennsylvania who are elected by districts, the seven (7) Supreme Court justices, 15 Superior Court judges and nine (9) Commonwealth Court judges are voted into office by the entire state’s electorate.



Why are the appellate courts so important now?

The state’s higher courts have always been crucial to upholding the rule of law in the nation and the Commonwealth. In the past few years, these courts have been asked to settle major disputes between Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s administration and the GOP-controlled legislature, including the state’s handling of the pandemic and how it runs elections. The value of our appellate courts was never more apparent than during the 2020 presidential election, in which they knocked down several meritless Republican claims of election fraud and helped ensure that all PA ballots were counted.


If a Republican wins the governorship in 2022 and the GOP maintains control of the legislature, these courts will likely take on an even more prominent role. Furthermore, if the trend toward a more conservative, Republican federal court system continues, we will need strong, independent state courts for important issues such as raising the state’s minimum wage and protecting current state laws related to reproductive rights and voting access.



How can you make an informed choice?


You can learn more about how the Commonwealth’s court system works at these sites:

https://www.pacourts.us/courts;

https://www.pmconline.org/resources/pennsylvania-court-structure.


Before you go to the polls or mail in your ballot, check out PA Spotlight’s guide to the appellate court races: https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2021/10/pa-supreme-court-election-justices-cases-voter-guide/.


And don’t forget to vote on November 2!