Sending a Message to the Judiciary

Unlike many states, Pennsylvania gun owners actually have a method to send a direct message to the judicial branch about their views on how judges might be doing at either upholding or uprooting our rights to keep and bear arms.

Pennsylvania does a range of judicial elections – outright partisan competitive elections at some levels and during some years, and then retention elections (simple, is this person doing a good enough job to remain on the bench vote) for some levels of the court. There are perks and drawbacks to such a system, but it is our system. That means we gun owners should participate.

Tomorrow is Election Day, and the only offices on the ballot are local, county, and judicial. It means that turnout will be ridiculously low. Gun owners need to be concerned since we just had an elected judge make a completely new interpretation of our concealed carry laws that made any Pennsylvania resident carrying on an out-of-state license a criminal.

In fact, two Supreme Court justices are up for a retention vote tomorrow. One of them, Chief Justice Ron Castille, wrote the opinion that has opened the door to redefine Pennsylvania’s self-defense standard from one which requires the state to disprove a claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, to one where the defendant has to prove self-defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This would essentially shift the burden from the state to the defendant. If gun owners think this is a bad idea, then vote against retention.

Gun owners aren’t the only interest group that should be looking more to the courts as voters. A Tea Party group is also encouraging voters to vote against retention of both justices up tomorrow. Whatever you think about their views on whatever it is that’s irking them is irrelevant, what it presents is an opportunity to see that Castille is especially weak.

This isn’t the only time in recent months that gun owners have needed to wake up to judicial elections. In Erie, there’s a low level judge who just blatantly ignored the state’s preemption law. This is a situation that can easily be solved at the ballot box, and the message will spread to other judges.

Unfortunately, of all the bad rulings issued for gun owners lately, Chief Justice Castille is the only one facing an immediate election. However, he can be sent home. We should take the opportunity to help him enjoy his retirement a little earlier than he expected. (He actually faces mandatory retirement next year, so it’s pretty pointless to keep him on the court. Unfortunately, he is fighting that mandatory retirement. Though he can’t fight a voter-mandated retirement.)

8 thoughts on “Sending a Message to the Judiciary”

  1. Thanks for the notice on this issue. I will definitely be voting NO on retention for these 2 PA Supreme Court judges!

  2. NRA-ILA issued an alert to vote for Vic Stabile for Superior Court. I am not familiar with his stance on guns, however.

    1. It’s a retention election for the Supremes. The recommendation is to NOT retain them. You don’t pick a candidate in these elections, you simply vote on whether you think they are doing a job worthy of the office. If not, then the seat opens up and we have a competitive election at some point.

      For the lower levels, I don’t know. As mentioned above, apparently something went out about Stabile. I never received it, so I had no idea they had endorsed there.

      For anything municipal, my general suggestion is: Is your mayor involved with MAIG? If yes, vote for the other guy. If no, it doesn’t really matter to me.

  3. Past Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices have told us what message to send the judiciary: “If we uphold an unconstitutional act, we’ve overthrown the government. Overthrow us.” They described the very thing which occurs in a time like ours: ‘corruption of the people’ that manages to vote in the same-ol’-lawbreakers time and time again. Neither the self-defense of a person nor the self-defense of a people requires harm to have already occurred. The imminent threat of kidnapping and armed robbery is quite enough, and the agents of our political subdivisions are already well entrenched in the regular commission of such activities. We’re lucky to have had seditious officials in high places at some time in our history because we’re quite lacking them today with our ‘prosperity’ and ‘semi-comfortable living’ when done without regard for more than life, forgetting the total package of liberty and property. Of course, you will never find this blog advocating anything but options guaranteed not to restore law for anyone whom will live this lifetime, because that’s the ‘most reasonable’ position in a room of arbitrarily decided but constantly moving poles.

    The ‘most reasonable’ person in a room won’t pull the trigger on a ‘criminal’ whom won’t abide an unconstitutional act and resists criminals who attempt to enforce it by force, but he’ll ask the person beside him to shoot that person dead, because that’s the penalty, for any ‘crime’. No background check? Die. Switchblade in hand? Die. Loaded rifle in back seat of the car? Die. Recording a police officer while he expects total privacy and non-interception while in the middle of public arresting someone? Die. Convictee of summary-offense level arson and possessing a gun? Die. Having an operable gun within 1000 feet of a school? Die. Own a machinegun? Die. Die, die, effin DIE DIE DIE.


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