Pennsylvania’s election will be dominated by races for statewide courts, including a seat on the Supreme Court

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania voters will fight four statewide court battles in Tuesday’s election to fill a vacant seat on the state Supreme Court — which has played a crucial role in election-related cases in the presidential battleground state. and three seats on two lower appeals courts.

The state Supreme Court election is the most important race on the ballot.

In recent years, Supreme Court justices have resolved legal challenges arising from a politically divided state House and a closely contested 2020 presidential election in which partisans fought over which counties must conduct elections and which ballots can be counted.

The court is poised to take on that role again as political stalemates continue in the House of Representatives and Pennsylvania is expected to be one of several swing states that will determine the winner of the 2024 presidential election in just a year.

Judges and justices must serve a 10-year term before applying to remain on the court.

Here is a look at the competitions:


On the ballot for an open state Supreme Court seat will be Republican Carolyn Carluccio and Democrat Dan McCaffery in a race that will cost more than $22 million, believed to be a state spending record for a state Supreme Court race in represents Pennsylvania.

Millions came from three sources in particular: a group that funnels money from billionaire Jeffrey Yass, one of the Republicans’ biggest national donors, who supports school choice and anti-regulation approaches; litigators, who typically advocate against restrictions on filing lawsuits and damages claims in court; and labor, including construction and public employee unions.

McCaffery, 59, is a former prosecutor and judge in Philadelphia who sits on a statewide appeals court, the Superior Court. Carluccio, 63, is a Montgomery County judge and a former federal prosecutor and public defender.

The race will not change the fact that Democrats have a majority on the seven-seat bench. Democrats currently have a 4-2 majority with one open seat followingDeath last yearof Chief Justice Max Baer, ​​​​a Democrat.

But the winner will join a panel that has made crucial decisions in important election-related cases.

This also includes excluding congressional districts elected by the Republican Partymanipulated unconstitutionallyand rejectinga Republican effortto overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state after Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

It alsoconfirms the constitutionalityof the state’s far-reaching absentee voting law and addressed a number of issuesDisputes related to votingbefore the 2020 election. Last year, itI selected the cardof congressional districts currently used in Pennsylvania.

The court is currently examininga challenge to a state lawthat restricts the use of public funds to support abortions for women, and Philadelphia’s challenge to a law banning it and other municipalitiesRestricting the sale and possession of weapons.

Another politically explosive case – former governor Tom Wolf’s plan to combat global warmingMake power plant owners paybecause of their planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions could also be before that.


Two Republicans and two Democrats are running for two open seats on the Superior Court.

On the Democratic ticket are Jill Beck and Timika Lane. Lane is a judge on the Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia and Beck, of Pittsburgh, is an attorney in private practice who has served as a law clerk in the state’s supreme and superior courts.

Both Beck and Lane ran for the Supreme Court in 2021 but lost, Beck in the primary and Lane in the general election.

The Republican ticket is Harry Smail, a Westmoreland County judge, and Maria Battista, a Clarion County attorney.

Battista is a former district attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Clarion County district attorney in 2019 and served as an attorney for the state’s health and public health departments.

The 15-member court hears appeals from district courts in civil and criminal cases. The two seats are still open because a Republican judge retired and another Republican judge will reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 this year.


There is a vacant seat on the Commonwealth Court after Republican Justice Kevin Brobson was elected to the state Supreme Court in 2021.

The Democratic nominee is Matt Wolf, a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge, while the Republican is Megan Martin, an attorney who served as a state Senate legislator for more than a decade and lives in Cumberland County.

The nine-member court hears challenges or appeals from district courts in cases involving laws or government actions.

James Brien

James Brien is a WSTNewsPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined WSTNewsPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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