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State of Pennsylvania

History of Reform Efforts: Pennsylvania

Active Organizations

Committee of 70
Established in 1904, the Committee of 70 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan political watchdog organization dedicated to advancing good government in the city of Philadelphia and surrounding communities. The Committee of 70 supports merit selection of judges, believing that such a system would "give Pennsylvania an effective, democratic way of choosing appellate judges." The organization's rationale for supporting merit selection is outlined in its report "Who Chooses? The Need For Judicial Reform in Pennsylvania," available on its web site.

Common Cause Pennsylvania
Common Cause of Pennsylvania supports merit selection of appellate judges with a local option for common pleas judges. Until merit selection is adopted, Common Cause supports limits on contributions to judicial candidates from individuals and PACs and partial public financing for judicial elections.

Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Pennsylvania Bar Association has advocated merit selection for over 40 years. Various entities of the PBA are also involved in the selection process. The judicial evaluation commission rates appellate judicial candidates standing for retention as either "highly recommended," "recommended," or "not recommended," and the judicial campaign advertising board promotes "accurate, fair, and dignified" advertising during campaigns for Pennsylvania's appellate courts.

Pennsylvania League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania supports merit selection for appellate judges with a local option for common pleas judges, as discussed in its position paper Where We Stand on Judicial Selection. The Pennsylvania League's Citizen Education Fund publishes a voters guide that provides information about candidates for the supreme, superior, and commonwealth courts, and some local leagues publish voters guides that also include candidates for the courts of common pleas.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
Created in 1987, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (“PMC”) is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization committed to improving Pennsylvania’s judicial system in order to achieve better courts for all Pennsylvania citizens.