Pennsylvania's Judicial Vacancies Lead to Real-Life Consequences

A third of the Middle District of Pennsylvania's active court lies vacant due to the slow-moving process of judicial nominations. The Atlantic reports these vacancies significantly overburden the Middle District, forcing citizens into long, drawn-out litigation. The vacancies also require the Middle District to lean on Judges sitting in senior status and trial judges from the similarly situated Eastern District of Pennsylvania for help. The article suggests politics are to blame for the high number of judicial vacancies and play a large role in creating these real-life consequences.

Rebecca Love Kourlis, Executive Director of IAALS, was interviewed for the article. "Vacancies in the judiciary create holes in the judicial system and civil cases are the most likely to fall through those holes," Kourlis said. "What this means is that civil cases suffer increased continuances and delays and the possibilities of changing judges in mid-stream. For civil litigants, this means untenable disruptions to their lives and businesses, the possibility of increased costs, and overall, a breach of the promise of access to justice."