The Pa. ACLU's and LWVPA's suit to enjoin the secretary of state from counting or certifying the votes on the ballot question known as Marsy's Law is now back before Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler. The amendment would grant crime victims the same state constitutional rights as criminal defendants. It was on the November 5 General Election ballot and voters voted for it overwhelmingly but no official count has been certified.
The state appealed the Commonwealth Court decision to the Pa. Supreme Court, which kicked the case back to Judge Ceisler for a summary judgment ruling. Briefing is underway and will end Jan. 24. The judge may make a decision as early as February. It will then go back to the Supreme Court for a final ruling.
Her initial ruling before the November 2019 election marked the first time in the history of the commonwealth that a judge has ever ordered that a ballot question not be counted or certified after the question has been printed on the ballot. Judge Ceisler decided that the amendment is unconsitutional because it is a multi-faceted question that will affect several parts of the Constitution and does not allow voters to vote on each part separately as the state Constitution requires.
According to the lawsuit, the proposed amendment makes multiple changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution that provide a series of new and distinct constitutional rights to victims, several of which conflict with the rights of the accused as well as the rights of the public.
Read lawsuit here.
Read Opinion here.
Read Jodine Mayberry's Nov. 1 column about Marsy's Law here.