A Republican state lawmaker has introduced a number of resolutions to impeach all but one of Pennsylvania’s five Democratic Supreme Court Justices.
The move was prompted by the Democratic-majority court that invalidated the commonwealth’s 2011 congressional map in January. The court had given the Republican-controlled legislature tight timeframe to reach consensus with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. When that didn’t occur, the court unilaterally drew a new one themselves aided by a Stanford University professor.
To impeach the justices, Representative Cris Dush’s four measures would have to get majority votes in the House, and then two-thirds votes in the Senate.
In his memo to fellow Republicans, the Indiana County lawmaker wrote that the four justices’ decision to invalidate the map and draw a new one “blatantly and clearly contradicts the plain language of the Pennsylvania Constitution.”
He hasn’t introduced a resolution for the court’s fifth Democrat—Justice Max Baer—because while Baer agreed the 2011 map was unconstitutional, he didn’t want to redraw it on an abbreviated timeline.
The resolutions came a day after the U.S. Supreme Court and federal district court each rejected pleas from Republicans to place a stay on the new court drawn congressional map.
It’s unclear if Dush’s action has support from GOP leaders.
House Republican Spokesman Steve Miskin said there have been no discussions on the resolutions, and added, “it is not a decision to be made lightly.”
But Miskin also noted, caucus leaders do believe the court acted improperly—even though its ruling was upheld by the US Supreme Court and another federal court.
He said “every member has the right to form an opinion and draft legislation,” and “there are members who want to initiate impeachment, particularly in regards to the behavior of Justice Wecht.”
Republicans have accused Justice David Wecht of bias, based on disparaging comments he made about Pennsylvania’s congressional map during his campaign for court justice.
Gov. Wolf released a statement blasting the move.
“This is an unprecedented and undemocratic attempt to retaliate against the judicial branch. The legislature should be helping people, not settling personal grudges. This is nonsense and a waste of precious time and resources,” wrote Wolf.
Dush is joined by 11 co-sponsors on the proposal: Rep. Francis X. Ryan (R-Lebanon County), Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron), Rep. Jim Cox (R-Berks), Rep. Seth Grove (R-York), Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York), Rep. Dawn Keefer (R-Cumberland), Rep. John McGinnis (R-Blair), Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams), Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams), and Rep. Judy Ward (R-Blair).