PA Supreme Court Denies Wolf’s King’s Bench Gambit

Constitutional amendment process 1, Governor Tom Wolf 0.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today rejected Wolf’s legal action to immediately take up his challenge to the GOP’s legislation that bundled a constitutional amendment regarding reproductive rights with four unrelated proposed changes.

The justices turned down his King’s Bench request to declare Senate Bill 106 invalid, saying Wolf was free to file legal action before the Commonwealth Court.

Wolf has argued that the bundling of the measures amounted to a violation of the state constitution against passing laws that address multiple, unrelated topics.

The controversial proposed abortion amendment reads that the state constitution does not guarantee any rights relating to abortion or public funding of abortions.

The other combined measures include the requiring of voter ID, setting up election audits, enabling legislators to cancel regulations without facing a governor’s veto, and having gubernatorial candidates choose their own running mates.

Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) said, “I am disappointed by today’s denial of Governor Wolf’s request to invoke King’s Bench on SB 106. Deciding when, whether, and how to have a family is an extremely intimate decision, and not one that legislators ought to be making for people. The GOP’s abuse of the constitutional amendment process will cause unnecessary pain and hardship for thousands of PA’s women and families.

Jason Gottesman, spokesman for House Republicans, said they “continue to believe it’s constitutionally sound.”

The Pennsylvania House and Senate, both with Republican majorities, voted along mostly party lines to advance the package of amendments. Should the General Assembly pass the same package again in the session that begins in January, they would go before Commonwealth voters as five separate amendments as early as on the May 2023 primary ballot.

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