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2021

Article I, Section 1:

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5 by McNesby v. City of Philadelphia, 2021 WL 5182646 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (Nov. 9, 2021), per McCullough, J., held that a District Attorney placing police officers on a Do Not Call List without an opportunity for them to be heard is unconstitutional. The court reasoned that Article I, Sections 1, 11, and 26 taken together establish a legally cognizable protection against government infringement of reputation without due process.  Here, the police officers were not aware they were being placed on a Do Not Call List until after the list was published. Placement on the list caused damage to the officers’ reputations and decreased their number of court appearances, additionally damaging their careers. The court ultimately held that police officers are entitled to prior notice and an opportunity to be heard before being placed on a public Do Not Call List. Further, the court rejected the District Attorney’s defense of absolute immunity, reasoning that the doctrine applies to suits that seek to compel affirmative action on the part of state officials and not to suits that simply seek to restrain state officials from performing affirmative acts.

Ramirez v. Burger, 2021 WL 4279768 (Pa. Super. 2021) (Sep. 21, 2021), per Nichols J., the court analyzed whether Section 1705’s limited tort provision violated Article I, Sections 1, 2, and 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court noted that the right to obtain monetary damages as a result of another’s negligence is not a fundamental right protected by Article I, Sections 1 and 2. The court also held that the limited tort provision does not leave the injured party without any possibility of recovery and therefore is not an unconstitutional violation of the remedies clause.    

Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Middaugh, 244 A.3d 426 (Pa. 2021) (Jan. 20, 2021), per Saylor C.J., held that a claim that a license suspension imposed after an unreasonable delay violates the driver’s due process rights stands on the same footing regardless of whether the delay is chargeable to the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) or the clerk of the common pleas court and the evidence presented was sufficient to support the driver’s claim that a two year and four-month delay in suspension of his driver’s license resulted in prejudice to the driver, depriving him of due process.

Article I, Section 7:

Pomicter v. Luzerne County Convention Center, 2021 WL 4975081 (M.D. Pa. 2021) (Oct. 26, 2021), per Robert D. Mariani, J., the court held that sequestering protesters who are distributing literature and carrying signs to barricaded protest areas does not violate Article 1, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Here, both parties agreed that the arena restrictions were content-neutral. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has applied intermediate scrutiny instead of strict scrutiny when considering content-neutral restrictions on speech under federal jurisprudence and concluded that Article 1, Section 7 did not require a heightened constitutional standard. The court found the sequestering of protesters was “reasonable and in the furtherance of a substantial government interest” and therefore constitutional.

Article I, Section 8:

Commonwealth v. Green, 265 A.3d 541 (Pa. 2021) (Dec. 22, 2021), per Mundy, J., held that a warrant to search a phone is subject to the same overbreadth standard as a home under Article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court rejected the argument that a warrant to search a phone should be held to a higher overbreadth standard due to its storage capacity. All that is required is that the warrant (1) describe the place to be searched and the items to be seized with specificity and (2) be supported by probable cause to believe that the items sought will provide evidence of a crime. The court reasoned that where there is probable cause that evidence of a crime will be found within an electronic device, that evidence should not be shielded simply because it is comingled with personal information on a digital device with massive storage capabilities. Justice Donohue filed a dissent which Justice Wecht joined. Justice Wecht also filed a separate dissent, joined by Justices Donohue and Todd. 

Commonwealth v. Pacheco, 263 A.3d 626 (Pa. 2021) (Nov. 17, 2021), per Baer, J., held that individuals have a legitimate expectation of privacy in their real-time cell site location information (“CSLI”). Therefore, collection of historical CSLI requires a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. However, the court also held that Section 5773 of the wiretap act, which orders the collection of individuals’ real-time CSLI evidence, serves as the functional equivalent of a warrant and does not violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. [Appellant, in this case, appealed under the protections of the Fourth Amendment and Art I, Sec 8, but the case was decided on Fourth Amendment grounds.]

Commonwealth. v. Ford, 2021 WL 4772466 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (Oct. 13, 2021), per McCaffrey, J., held that a warrantless search of an automobile violated Article I, Section 8 of the constitution because there were no exigent circumstances. During a traffic stop, a trooper smelled an odor of marijuana and observed loose marijuana in the center console area near the shifter. The officer then conducted an investigatory search of the defendant, which included searching the front of the car where he found additional marijuana and plastic bags. The officer then preceded to search the trunk of the car where he found several containers of loose marijuana and a firearm. The defense contends that the search of the trunk was unlawful. Although the officer had sufficient probable cause, Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution requires both probable cause and exigent circumstances before police may engage in a warrantless search. The Superior Court remanded the cause for further proceedings directed at the exigencies.

Commonwealth v. Grooms, 247 A.3d 31 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (Feb. 24, 2021), per Stabile, J., the Superior Court of Pennsylvania held that the odor of marijuana alone does not establish probable cause for police to conduct a warrantless search of the defendant’s unoccupied, locked, and legally parked motor vehicle. The odor of marijuana is only a factor that may contribute to a finding of probable cause when assessed under a totality-of-the-circumstances test. The court vacated and reversed the defendant’s sentence.

Article I, Section 9:

Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania v. Adrian Carlos Padilla, 2021 WL 5926030 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (Dec. 15, 2021), per Stevens, P.J.E., the Superior Court of Pennsylvania declined to rule on whether testifying while wearing a facemask violates an individual’s right to a face-to-face confrontation under the Confrontation Clause of Article I, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court reasoned that the objection was not properly preserved at trial and affirmed appellant’s sentence. Stabile, J., dissented arguing that appellant’s objection was properly preserved and that the trial court erred by allowing a witness to testify with a mask on. The dissent argued that allowing a witness to testify, while preventing the jury from seeing the witness’s face, violated appellant’s right to confront their accuser.

Commonwealth. v. Cosby, 252 A.3d 1092 (Pa. 2021) (Jun. 30, 2021), per Wecht J., The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found a prosecutor’s unconditional promise of non-prosecution violated defendant’s constitutional right not to testify under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Prosecutors, in this case, induced the defendant to waive his fifth amendment rights, in order to settle a civil case, in exchange for a promise that the defendant would not be prosecuted criminally. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution mandate that all interaction between the government and the individual are conducted in accordance with the protections of due process. As such, the court found that the principle of fundamental fairness that undergirds due process of law in our criminal justice system demands that the prosecutor’s promise be enforced. Defendant’s convictions and judgment of sentence were vacated, and defendant was discharged.

Commonwealth v. Blenman, 2021 WL 2289332 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (May 28, 2021), per Musmanno J., The Pennsylvania Superior Court held that a defendant’s right to a speedy trial, pursuant to the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and Article I, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, was not violated because the Commonwealth exercised due diligence in securing writs for defendant’s appearance at hearings. The defendant was held in state custody and the process of obtaining presence of a state custodial inmate required cooperation from several agencies. The court found that no fault may be attributed to the Commonwealth because the Commonwealth exercised no authority or control over the state agencies. Furthermore, the court found no deliberate or negligent attempts to delay the defendant’s trial

Commonwealth v. Fears, 250 A.3d 1180, (Pa. 2021) (May 18, 2021), per Mundy, J., the court analyzed whether Eakin’s involvement in receiving racist and inappropriate emails directed toward minorities and those in the criminal justice system biased the Justice so as to violate the defendant’s right to fair adjudication under Article 1 §§ 9 & 13 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court found the unsavory nature of the emails did not create bias per se and drew a distinction between sending and receiving emails. The court reiterated that the test for bias is an objective one, encompassing matters where the adjudicator has a “direct, personal, substantial, or pecuniary interest” in the outcome of a matter.

Article I, Section 10:

Commonwealth v. King, 2021 WL 5895166 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (Dec. 14, 2021), per Nichols, J., the court held that the Commonwealth engaged in prosecutorial overreach by failing to turn over exculpatory evidence. In this case, the Commonwealth had a letter from a defense witness that implicated a third party in murder. When the witness testified that the third party committed the murder, the prosecutor argued that the testimony was a recent fabrication, reasoning that the accused third party had implicated the witness in an unrelated murder. However, the letter, implicating the third party was written before the witness had any motivation to fabricate. The court noted that under Article I, Section 10 of Pennsylvania Constitution, “prosecutorial overreaching sufficient to invoke double jeopardy protections includes misconduct which not only deprives the defendant of his right to a fair trial but is undertaken recklessly, that is, with a conscious disregard for a substantial risk that such will be the result.” Ultimately the court found that the prosecutor’s failure to disclose the letter warranted a new trial, but was not sufficiently overreaching or reckless so as to invoke double jeopardy protections.

Hughes v. UGI Storage Company, 263 A.3d 1144 (Pa. 2021) (Nov. 29, 2021), per Saylor C.J., the court held that under Article I, Section 10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the concept of an unconstitutional taking does not turn on whether the state arm doing the taking has the power of eminent domain but rather, turns on the fact of deprivation for public use. Although the issue was not put before the court in these terms, and is therefore not binding, the court concluded that a quasi-public entity need not be vested with the power of eminent domain in order to be held to account for a de facto condemnation.

Commonwealth v. Banks, 2021 PA Super. 95 (Pa. Super. 2021) (May 13, 2021), per Bowes, J., the court held that a criminal defendant’s voluntary severance of charges prohibits the defendants from invoking double jeopardy to bar the subsequent trial under the Federal and Pennsylvania Constitutions.

Article I, Section 11:

Brooks v. Ewing Cole, Inc., 2021 WL 4301270 (Pa. 2021) (Sep. 22, 2021), per Mundy J., the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that orders denying sovereign immunity defenses are immediately appealable. The court reasoned that subjecting a government entity, which claims it is immune to the legal process, undermines the purpose of sovereign immunity. The Court concluded that orders denying immunity are reviewable collateral orders because the entitlement is immunity from suit rather than a defense to liability.

Article I, Section 21:

Barris v. Stroud Township, 2021 WL 2177376 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (May 28, 2021), per Brobson, J., the court analyzed whether an ordinance placing restrictions on discharging a firearm violated Article I Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court held the ordinance violated citizens’ Second Amendment rights because it limited target shooting to two zoning districts within the township and placed a burden on those who desire to stay proficient in firearm use. 

Article I, Section 27

Pennsylvania Envtl. Def. Found. v. Commonwealth, 2021 WL 3073335 (Pa. 2021) (Jul. 21, 2021), per Donohue J., held that proceeds from oil and gas leases on state land must be used for conservation and maintenance purposes, and diverting these proceeds to the General Fund was violative of Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court held Article I, Section 27 created a “constitutional public trust,” and as such, proceeds from that trust are to remain principal by reinvesting in the conservation of state land. Chief Justice Baer and Justice Saylor both authored dissents, arguing that it is incongruous to apply private trust law principles to public trusts. 

Gibraltar Rock, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Dept. of Envtl. Protec., 2021 WL 2669194 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (Jun. 30, 2021), per Leavitt J., the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that Pennsylvania’s Environmental Hearing Board’s rescission of permits was not consonant with Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  The Board rescinded the permits of a quarry operator until the Department of Environmental Protection remediated the site of the quarry. The court noted that the decision to pull the permit tied up the landowner’s use of the land until such a time as another party, whom he has no control over, acts in a manner satisfactory to the DEP. Furthermore, the court found that by rescinding the landowners permit, he could not be called upon to participate in remediation of the contaminated groundwater, which would work to harm the environment and violate Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Article II, Section 1:

In re Formation of Independent School District Consisting of Borough of Highspire, Dauphin County, 2021 WL 4618660 (Pa. 2021) (Oct. 7, 2021), The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously held, per Donohue J., that delegating authority to the Secretary of Education to consider financial implications of transfer petitions in affected school districts does not violate Article II, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Secretary of Education recently denied a transfer petition based on the negative impact the transfers would have on the county’s finances. The Supreme Court noted that “[t]o require the Secretary to attempt to fulfill his duty to ascertain the educational merits of a school district transfer under Section 242.1 without considering the issues of financial viability undermines his or her ability to make a meaningful determination.” In finding there was no improper delegation of legislative authority, the court noted that the Public-School Code of 1949, comprehensively sets forth the General Assembly’s policy decisions and restrains any capricious exercise of authority by the Secretary.

Article II, Section 7:

In Re Bolus, 2021 WL 1557206 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2021), (Apr. 14, 2021), per Fizzano Cannon, J., the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held that Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution only bars individuals from holding office, not running for office. However, Section 910 of the Election Code requires candidates to attest to their eligibility for office when filing their nomination petition.

Article II, Section 15:

HIRA Educational Services North America v. Augustine, 991 F.3d 180 (3rd Cir. 2021) (Mar. 15, 2021), A consulting agency for Islamic educational groups, HIRA, brought action against state legislatures asserting claims under §1983 of the United States Constitution for violation of its right to free exercise of religion and for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act. The claims arise out of legislators’ actions in causing the State to void its contract to sell property on which HIRA had planned to establish an Islamic boarding school. The court, per Hardiman J., held that the state legislatures had qualified immunity from §1983 claims.

Article III, Section 31

City of Pittsburgh v. Lanese, 2021 WL 2328101 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2021) (Jun. 8, 2021), per Compton, J., the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the trial court’s decision permitting the use of third-party tax collectors. The case was brought under Article III, Section 31 of the Pennsylvania Constitution as an impermissible delegation of a non-delegable municipal function. The court distinguished between the power to tax and tax collection, finding the only function delegated by the Taxing Authorities was the function of collecting on the predetermined amount of delinquent real estate taxes owed. The assessment of the tax itself was not delegated. Therefore, no impermissible delegation of a municipal function occurred.

Article IV, Section 20

County of Butler v. Gov. of Pennsylvania, 2021 WL 3520610 (3rd.  Cir. 2021) (Aug. 11, 2021), per Schwartz J., the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that Governor Wolf’s appeal was moot. Governor Wolf appealed from the order of the Western District of Pennsylvania that found his emergency declarations, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Third Circuit found that the parties agreed the orders were no longer in effect and that the governor had been stripped of his unilateral power to issue future orders. After passage of Article IV, Section 20, the court found the governor no longer possessed a mechanism to repeat the alleged harm. The court also noted that Governor Wolf had agreed not to impose another order. Therefore, the court dismissed the appeal, vacated the judgment, and remanded with instructions for the District Court to dismiss the complaint as moot.

Article V, Section 5

Domus, Inc. v. Signature Bldg. Sys. of PA, LLC, 252 A.3d 628 (Pa. 2021) (Jun. 22, 2021), The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, per curiam, held that failure to authenticate a foreign judgment did not implicate the subject matter jurisdiction of the court of common pleas. The court noted that the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act’s authentication requirement made no reference to jurisdictional implications. Under Article V, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the courts of common pleas have unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except as may otherwise be provided by law. The court found the effectively unlimited subject matter jurisdiction of the courts of common pleas encompassed actions to enforce foreign judgments.

Article V, Section 10:

In Re Domitrovich, 2021 WL 1502533 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2021) (Apr. 16, 2021), The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, per curiam, granted an administrative order disqualifying a judge from receiving or considering filings by the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. The trial court held it had jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to Article V, Section 16 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which grants jurisdiction to supervise business of the court. However, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania rejected this conclusion and found that “business of the court” involves case assignments, staffing, and use of court resources. Furthermore, the Commonwealth Court found that the order violated Article V, Section 10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which confers the Pennsylvania Supreme Court the exclusive right to supervise “all the courts.”

Article VIII, Section 1

Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc. v. Commonwealth, 2021 WL 4142426 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (Sep. 13, 2021), per Wojcik J., held that an unconstitutional tax provision that resulted in a windfall to small corporations did not entitle large corporations to a tax refund. In 2017, the flat-dollar cap on taxable income was found to be unconstitutional. Plaintiff in this case did not use the flat-dollar cap in calculating its taxable income but rather utilized the percentage cap.  Prior to the decision, small corporations benefitted from the flat-dollar cap. Plaintiff asserts a right to relief under the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The court reasoned that taxpayers that utilized the percentage-based cap – as plaintiff did – were unaffected by the change in the law. The fact that the unconstitutional provision benefitted small corporations did not entitle plaintiff to relief. The court also rejected plaintiff’s claim to relief under the Remedies Clause noting that the Remedies Clause provides for the exercise of rights by seeking relief in open courts, but does not otherwise entitle plaintiff to the relief it seeks.

Article IX, Section 4:

Luzerne County Council v. Luzerne County Board of Elections, 2021 WL 5014062 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (Oct. 28, 2021), per McCullough, J., held Article IX, Section 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution requires public office holders who are appointed due to a vacancy to be placed on the ballot during the next municipal election. Here, the Luzerne County District Attorney, Stefanie Salavantis, resigned from her office with three years remaining on her four-year term. Pursuant to section 1404 of the County Code, the first assistant district attorney was appointed to serve as district attorney “until the first Monday in January following the next municipal election.” Municipal elections are held on “the Tuesday next following the first Monday of November in each odd-numbered year.” Appellant’s position was that the next municipal election for district attorney would be in 2023, and therefore the first district attorney should serve the remainder of the term. However, the court held that the “next municipal election” would occur in November of 2021. The court ultimately held that the winner of the election in November 2021 would serve the remainder of former District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis’ term.

Article XI, Section 1:

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. DeGraffenreid, 265 A.3d 207 (Pa. 2021) (Dec. 21, 2021), per Todd, J., held that the proposed Victim’s Rights Amendment, commonly known as “Marsy’s Law” violated Article XI, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which requires that “[w]hen two or more amendments shall be submitted they shall be voted upon separately.” Here, the court found that the proposed amendment contained multiple questions. Although the questions were interrelated to victims’ rights, the array of wide-ranging changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution were not dependent on each other in order to function. As such, Article XI, Section 1 prohibited them from being joined together as a singular proposed amendment because doing so deprived voters of their right to vote on each change separately.

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, 247 A.3d 1183 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2021) (Jan. 7, 2021), The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, per curiam, held that a proposed amendment to Article 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, is unconstitutional because it violates Section 1, Article XI of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The proposed amendment, also known as the Victims’ Rights Amendment, would create a number of new constitutional rights for victims and others directly impacted by crimes. The court explained that the proposed amendment would implement sweeping and complex changes to the Constitution and impermissibly extend new powers to the General Assembly in violation of the Constitution. Further, the court held that the proposed amendment facially and substantially amends multiple existing constitutional articles and sections pertaining to multiple subject matters that are not sufficiently interrelated to be voted upon as a single constitutional amendment. Judge McCullough, in her memorandum opinion in support of the judgment, wrote that in the interest of serving justice, it is imperative to recognize certain rights and interests of crime victims in the criminal justice system. However, Judge McCullough explained that it may be debatable whether “victims’ rights” is a subject narrow enough to allow many of the Proposed Amendment’s varying provisions to be considered in a single vote. Judge McCullough wrote that, in addition to providing new rights to crime victims, the Proposed Amendments would “patently affect” existing rights of the accused. Because of this, she wrote, the Proposed Amendment encompassed “two or more amendments” that required separate votes. Judge Leavitt, in her memorandum opinion in opposition of the judgment, wrote that, because the League of Women Voters proffered only speculation on how the newly declared right will operate in the future, there is no real controversy before the Court. Judge Leavitt explained that she would grant summary judgment relief to Secretary Boockvar and deny summary relief to the League of Women Voters.

Methodological Provisions:

General Motors Corporation v. Commonwealth, 265 A.3d 353 (Pa. 2021) (Dec. 22, 2021), per Baer, C.J., held that the court’s decision in Nextel Communications of Mid-Atlantic., Inc. v. Commonwealth, Dept. of Revenue, 171 A.3d 682 (Pa. 2017) (finding that Pennsylvania’s $2 million cap on “net loss carryover” (“NLC”) violated Article VIII, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution) applies retroactively. The court’s decision in General Motors was based on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which has been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court as “requiring the State to afford taxpayers a meaningful opportunity to secure post payment relief for taxes already paid pursuant to a tax scheme ultimately found unconstitutional.” Because the Pennsylvania Supreme Court already held that the $2 million NLC violated the Uniformity Clause, the Commonwealth is required to place General Motors on equal footing with its competitors. Here, the court found the appropriate remedy was to recalculate General Motors’ net income without capping its NLC deduction and to issue a refund.

Commonwealth v. Hamilton, 2021 WL 2285507 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2021) (June 1, 2021), per Pellegrini J., The Superior Court of Pennsylvania upheld a sentence of life in prison without parole against an 18-year-old defendant. The defendant claimed the sentence was unconstitutional due to his age and mental disability. The court rejected defendant’s claim that the “immature brain” theory applied to him because the theory only applies to those under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed. The court also rejected defendant’s argument that a life sentence without the possibility of parole is unconstitutional due to his mental disability. The United States Supreme Court has held that the death penalty is unconstitutionally excessive punishment for individuals with intellectual disabilities, but has not extended that holding to life sentences. The court further noted that the ‘scant’ pleadings were insufficient to carry defendant’s burden of proof to show the sentence was unconstitutionally excessive as applied to him.

In re Sale of Real Est. by Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau, 2021 WL 1846092 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (May 10, 2021), per Renée Cohn Jubelirer, J., held a judicial sale of personal property without effectuating notice ran violated the Pennsylvania Constitution. Here, the court attempted to notify the property owner via first class mail, which came back undelivered. The court held that due process required notice and an opportunity to be heard before an individual is deprived of personal property and voided the judicial sale.

Southpointe Golf Club, Inc. v. Bd. of Supervisors of Cecil Township, 250 A.3d 495 (Pa. Cmmw. Ct. 2021) (Apr. 12, 2021), per Fizanno Cannon J., The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that a zoning ordinance unlawfully delegated the townships legislative authority to property owners by allowing zoning by referendum. The ordinance gave the adjacent property owners unfettered power to decide whether the Board of Supervisors would have the option of waiving the applicable review standards in considering a zoning application, regardless of whether the proposed use was consistent with the public health, safety, welfare, and the requirements of Township’s general zoning plan. While the General Assembly is permitted to assign authority or discretion to administer law, the General Assembly must make the basic policy choices and provide standards that restrain the delegated power. Here, the court found insufficient safeguards to guide and restrain landowners’ decisions to change the zoning ordinance review standards and concluded this provision represented an impermissible delegation of zoning authority.