Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For first time, Pa. voters oust a Supreme Court justice

NEPA News

While the decision to oust this judge appears to hinge on salary issues - make no mistake that this is an important example of how the judicial branch (not to mention the legislative) can be taken back through collective action.

Excerpts:

In an unprecedented vote, Pennsylvanians denied a Supreme Court justice a second term Tuesday as public anger at state lawmakers over a pay-raise law spread to the state's highest court. A second justice won another term only narrowly.

Justice Russell M. Nigro received only 49 percent of vote _ making him the first statewide judge to be turned out of office in a yes-or-no retention election in the 36 years such elections have been held.

Justice Sandra Schultz Newman won a second term with 54 percent of the vote, a close margin for a retention election, the partial returns showed.

In the last judicial election in 2001, the three jurists on the ballot all were retained by margins of 3-1.

"It's a clear signal that Pennsylvanians have awoke from their long slumber," said Russ Diamond, chairman of
PACleanSweep, a political action committee that aims to challenge every incumbent legislator in next year's elections. "I think that the voters fully understand what's going on here."

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