HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania today issued an order to postpone the tabulation and certification of the vote tally of the Marsy’s Law ballot question until a court challenge is resolved. In response to a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and Lorraine Haw, the court ruled that the legal challenge to the proposed constitutional amendment is likely to succeed and, thus, issued a preliminary injunction to stop the Department of State from certifying the vote until the litigation is finished.
The lawsuit argues that the ballot question violates the section of the Pennsylvania Constitution that requires that changes to the constitution that impact different sections of the governing document must be considered as separate amendments. The League and Ms. Haw are represented by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the law firm Dechert LLP.
The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania:
“This ruling reaffirms the importance of following the constitution. Despite the heated rhetoric, rather than help crime victims, the Legislature failed them in this process. They did not hold a single hearing over two legislative sessions, and they ignored the law in proposing this massive constitutional amendment. They knew better, and they should have done better.”
The following can be attributed to Steven Bizar, partner at Dechert LLP and co-counsel for the League and Ms. Haw:
“From the start, this case has not been about victims’ rights, but about protecting the rights of Pennsylvania voters. That is what our clients are concerned about here. When constitutional requirements are skirted, even for good reasons, every one of us suffers. We are very pleased with the Commonwealth Court’s carefully reasoned opinion and ready to press ahead to ensure that the requirements for amending the constitution are met.”
A copy of the court’s ruling is available at aclupa.org/ML-lawsuit. Today’s ruling is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.