Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Claiming victory with the No vote for retention on one out of two

PACleanSweep Claims Victory for Pennsylvanians

ANNVILLE, PA [11.09.05] - PACleanSweep declared a victory for the citizens of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth's Constitution after learning the voters had ousted Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro in Tuesday's election. No appellate court justice has ever been not retained previously in Pennsylvania. The race was largely viewed as the first volley in a battle for the future direction of government in the Commonwealth.

In the other Supreme Court retention race on the ballot, Justice Sandra Schultz Newman narrowly retained her seat with apparently less than 54 percent of the vote. Judicial candidates for retention in Pennsylvania traditionally enjoy being retained with at least 75 percent of the vote in their favor. Newman will be forced to retire in 2007 when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

"Pennsylvania has been stalled at a constitutional crossroads for four months," said PACleanSweep Chair Russ Diamond. "We're pleased that the people have decided to boldly move forward by insisting that those charged with serving as guardians of the supreme law of the land take their duties and their oaths of office seriously."

In recent weeks, the PA Supreme Court has been at the center of a controversy over an unconstitutional pay raise enacted by the General Assembly on July 7. A cadre of anti-pay raise organizations, including PACleanSweep, banded together to protest the Supreme Court's role in the pay raise, pointing out a number of questionable rulings handed down over the last few years.

In just the last week, the two chambers of the General Assembly became deadlocked over a stunning last-minute repeal of the raise, which applied to all three branches of state government. The sticking point in the legislative standoff is the judicial portion of the increase, which may have added fuel to the electorate's angst.

"Voters have sent a loud and clear message to all public officials: You will be held accountable by the voters who've elected you," said PACleanSweep Media Relations Director Jerry Kelley.

Diamond was quick to note that the election results were only the first stirrings of the winds of change in Pennsylvania.

"This is not the end of our fight, it's only the beginning of a revolution in Pennsylvania. The last four months have seen a reawakening of the Commonwealth's citizens to the need for government to regularly consider the Constitution in their day-to-day activities rather than viewing it as some archaic document hanging on a museum wall for school children to admire on field trips.

"Our attention now turns to the Governor and the Senate, who are charged with appointing and confirming a temporary replacement to the bench until a contested election can be held in 2007. We advise Mr. Rendell to tread carefully in this matter, as he is up for re-election in 2006 along with the 228 incumbent lawmakers we've been targeting since July 18th."

"These results should put the entire legislature on notice," added Strategic Director Mike Bergmaier. "We intend to hold every last one of them to the constitutional fire in the upcoming months. The people have simply had enough, and it's time for lawmakers to focus on public service, not self service. Otherwise, they'll likely find themselves in the unemployment line next to Russell Nigro."
About PACleanSweep

PACleanSweep is a non-partisan effort dedicated to defeating incumbent elected officials in Pennsylvania and replacing them with true public servants. For more information, please visit

For More Information, Russ Diamond, PACleanSweep Chair,

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