HARRISBURG — State Rep. Chris Dush, R-Jefferson/Indiana, is defending legislation he filed to impeach four Democratic Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices following their unfavorable congressional map ruling by arguing that the move is not about gerrymandering at all.
“There is a lot of misinformation surrounding the House resolutions I introduced this week calling for the impeachment of four Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices who blatantly violated our state and federal constitutions,” Dush said in a statement made available to the Pennsylvania Record.
“This is not a gerrymandering issue; it is an unconstitutional theft-of-power issue.”
Dush felt the need to explain his actions after state Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor, a Republican, blasted him in a statement by asserting that “threats of impeachment directed against justices because of their decision in a particular case are an attack upon an independent judiciary.”
Saylor’s words came just days after Dush and roughly a dozen other Republican House members filed articles of impeachment against justices David N. Wecht, Debra McCloskey Todd, Christine L. Donohue and Kevin M. Dougherty.
Angry GOP legislators insisted that the Democratic justices exceeded their constitutional authority by implementing their own version of a congressional map after striking down the enacted one as unlawfully gerrymandered.
The justices moved to impose their own map after the three-week deadline they gave lawmakers and the governor to come up with a revamped map came and went without action.
“While not made lightly, the impeachment resolutions are neither a threat nor an attack on an independent judiciary," Dush added in his statement.
“Even though the action by the court's majority to overturn the enacted congressional maps is causing unnecessary confusion, the court's action of drawing their own map to replace it is, I believe, a clear violation of our constitution and the separation of powers among what are supposed to be three separate but equal branches of government.
"The constitution grants the legislature, not the courts, the authority to draw congressional district boundaries.”
A majority of the House and two-thirds of the Senate must vote in favor of impeachment to remove the justices from office.