by Stephen Wolf, Daily Kos, 7/30/15
When we think of important elections in America, typically the list starts with the president, then Congress, governors, etc., while judicial elections are a lower priority for voters. Foreign election observers might even be shocked we elect judges at all, a system that Europeans and our own federal government have largely eschewed. So it may come as a surprise to learn just how important this November’s three state Supreme Court races are in Pennsylvania.
These elections are critical not just because Democrats might retake a majority on the high court for the first time in years: They will determine how easy it will be for either party to win the legislature during the next decade. Whichever party controls the court appoints a tie-breaking member to the redistricting commission and most recently, that has been a Republican who voted for partisan gerrymanders. In 2012, that system led to Republicans winning the legislature despite losing the popular vote because they had drawn the maps. The new maps were used for the first time during the 2014 red wave, and Republicans won their largest majorities in generations even though Democrats decisively unseated unpopular GOP Gov. Tom Corbett….
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