OPED: Judicial elections vital to the state

Sen. Scott Wagner

I’ve said it often: we can’t fix Pennsylvania until we change governors. We can’t end the culture of self-serving politicians until we change governors. We won’t attract companies that create good-paying jobs to Pennsylvania until we change governors. We can’t enable existing Pennsylvania businesses to create good-paying jobs until we change governors. We won’t stop the onslaught of taxpayer assaults until we change governors. Gov.Tom Wolf has to go, and voters will get the chance to fire him in November of 2018. But this November, nothing matters more than filling Pennsylvania courts with qualified judges who will uphold the Constitution and follow the law.

Among the most critical, yet most ignored, races are judicial elections and yet the courtroom is the very place where liberty and justice for all are under attack. Courts all across the nation, which were once great equalizers, are being overrun by liberal judges who’ve forgotten their role. Rather than uphold the law as it is written, these judges make up new laws to accommodate partisan politics. The bench is no place for lawmaking, politics or biased rulings. In November of this year, just a few months away, voters will have the opportunity to defend Pennsylvania against this bias — and we cannot squander it.

Electing our highly qualified Republican slate of judges must be the top priority for conservatives in 2017. We must keep Justice Sallie Mundy on our Supreme Court. We must elect Craig Stedman, Emil Giordano, Wade Kagarise and Mary Murray to our Superior Court. And we must elect Paul Lalley and Christine Fizzano Cannon to our Commonwealth Court. These individuals possess unimpeachable integrity, and through them blind justice will have a home on Pennsylvania courts.

In 2015, left wing special interests outspent Republicans significantly, allowing liberals to “pack the court” with judges they believe will hold partisan politics above the law. We can’t let that happen again in 2017. We have to stand our ground.

It is critical that conservatives band together and push harder than ever to elect judges who will protect the Constitution and uphold the law above all. And in these elections it is vital to remember that every vote counts. One statewide judge race a few years ago came down to just 28 votes!  Every additional person you bring to the polls counts — especially in these low-turnout elections when only 20 percent of registered voters will make it to the polls.

As I travel the state to make people aware of just how gravely Gov. Wolf’s failures affect them, I also make certain they know how important it is that we elect conservative judges to our courts this year. I let them know that at stake in November are seats on our Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts. I tell them about our Republican slate of qualified, conservative candidates. Wherever you travel, if you do the same, we cannot lose.

— Scott Wagner is a Pennsylvania state senator. He is running for governor.