Yesterday in Pennsylvania control of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was determined in an election between Jack Panella and Joan Orie Melvin. Joan Orie Mevlin (Republican) won. The election law angle? The Philadelphia Inquirer explains:
In practical partisan terms, the winner of Tuesday’s election will determine the court’s majority. And at redistricting time, the majority gets to pick the arbiter.
Both parties are keenly aware that the six justices who will still be on the court next year are split 3-3 in terms of party affiliation. (The seventh justice, Jane Cutler Greenspan, was appointed to fill the seat of the late chief justice, Ralph Cappy, on condition that she not run for a full 10-year term.)
Under the state constitution, each party gets two seats at the negotiating table when district boundaries are redrawn to reflect population shifts since 2000. The court likely will be called upon to appoint an arbiter to break the tie, and that’s where the election comes in.