ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
Known as Marsy’s Law, HB 276 (P.N. 284) / SB 149 (P.N. 127) propose an amendment to Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution to establish a crime victims’ ‘bill of rights.’ This resolution would grant crime victims comparable–and enforceable–rights to “justice and due process” equal to those provided to the accused and requires that their rights are “protected in a manner no less vigorous than the rights afforded to the accused” in criminal and juvenile proceedings. Proposals to amend the constitution require passage in two consecutive sessions before being placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
Marsy's Law on the ballot
On November 5, 2019, Marsy's Law, a "crime victims bill of rights," appeared as a ballot question in the general election, asking voters to decide whether they want this language amended into the Pennsylvania Constitution. After vigorously opposing the substance of Marsy's Law as the amendment made its way through the legislature, the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the ballot question. The case is currently pending review by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The election results for the ballot question will not be certified pending the outcome of the legal challenge.
UNCONSTITUTIONAL (December 21, 2021): In a 6-1 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the proposed Marsy's Law amendment violated the state Constitution when it was presented as a single question on the 2019 ballot.