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Periodical Summaries 2005

Note, Partisan Gerrymandering Challenges in Light of Vieth v Jubelirer: A First Amendment Alternative, 15 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 287 (2005), by Timothy D. Caum II, discusses, in part, potential availability of Pennsylvania Constitution challenge against partisan gerrymandering.

Comment, State of Secrecy: The Fall and Potential Re-emergence of Lobbying Disclosure in Pennsylvania, 15 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts L. Rev. 199 (2005), by Danielle N. Rodier, discusses the prospects for lobbying regulation in Pennsylvania in light of the constitutional authority of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Joseph W. Dellapenna, Developing a Suitable Water Allocation law for Pennsylvania, 17 Vill. Envtl. L. J. 1 (2006) discusses water allocation in a broad framework, including Pennsylvania constitutional implications.

Peter Asselin, Supporting the Home Team…In More Ways Than One: An Analysis of the Public Financing of Philadelphia’s New Sports Stadia, 3 Rutgers J. L. & Urb. Pol’y 389 (2006): student note examines the financing of the stadia including questions of constitutionality.

Comment, Marcy L. McCullough, Prescribing Arbitration to Cure the Common Crisis: Developing Legislation to Facilitate Arbitration as an Alternative to Litigating Medical Malpractice Disputes in Pennsylvania, 110 Penn St. L. Rev. 809 (2006): includes discussion of the implication of Pennsylvania Constitution for limits on damages.

William Boak, Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh: the Continuing Development of a Practical Approach to Property Tax Exemption, 15 Widener L.J. 477 (2006), discusses the Benedictine Sisters case, 844 A.2d 86 (2004).

Kathleen B. Foltz, Two Steps Forward and One Step Back: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Dances Around Equal Rights for “Life Partners,”  15 Widener L.J. 409 (2006), discusses Devlin v. City of Philadelphia, 862 A.2d 1234 (Pa. 2004).

Joel Fishman, Justice Michael A. Musmano and Constitutional Dissents, 1967-68, 68 Alb. L. Rev. 349 (2005): Dr. Fishman presents an analysis of Justice Musmanno’s disagreements with majorities in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Justice Musmanno had particular qualms concerning the 1967-1968 Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention.

Fred Kameny, Are Inseverability Clauses Constitutional?, 68 Alb. L. Rev. 997 (2005): uses the 1987 legislative pay raise in Pennsylvania as the jumping-off point for discussion of inseverability clauses.  The article has become unexpectedly poignant with respect to Pennsylvania’s most recent legislative pay raise.

Ken Gormley, The Forgotten Supreme Court Justices, 68 Alb. L. Rev. 295 (2005), sketches the biographies of the current Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices and makes the point that lawyers should be as familiar with their own Supreme Court Justices as with the Justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Ken Gormley, Jeffrey Bauman, Joel Fishman and Leslie Kozler, Editors, The Pennsylvania Constitution — A Treatise on Rights and Liberties, the latest and best resource available in Pennsylvania Constitutional Law, published by George T. Bisel Company, Inc., 2004. For positive reviews see John Burkoff, The Pennsylvania Constitution: A Treatise on Rights and Liberties, 6 No. 18 Lawyers J. 6, Michael E. Lobonati;”A Tribute to a Unique Constitutional Tradition”, 27-FEB Pa. Law. 50 (January/February 2005); Judge Phyllis W. Beck and Patricia Daly in 29 PLW 317 (3/28/2005) and Shirley S. Abrahamson, 68 Alb. L. Rev. 403 (2005).

John G. Culhane and Stacey L. Sobel, The Gay Marriage Backlash and Its Spillover Effects: Lessons From a (Slightly) “Blue State”, 40 Tulsa L. Rev. 443 (Spring, 2005): describes hate crime legislation efforts in Pennsylvania in light of the backlash against same-sex marriages.

NOTE, “Recent Cases — Norton v. Glenn“, 118 Harv. L. Rev. 2029 (April, 2005): the author believes that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania made an unwise decision in not recognizing a neutral reportage privilege.


Law Review Survey prepared by Jeffrey Mansell

The most recent issue of the Widener Law Journal, Vol. 14 No.2, is mostly devoted to the Journal’s Annual Survey of Pennsylvania Administrative Law. Many of the articles in the survey contain some discussion of provisions in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

  1. Administrative Process and Administrative Agencies
    Andrew J. Gonzalez, “Lehman v. Pennsylvania State Police: Establishing Which Constitutional Claims must be Raised and Considered before a Commonwealth Agency to be Preserved for Appeal,” 14 Widener L.J. 491 (2005).Gonzalez discusses an agency’s jurisdiction to consider constitutional issues raised by the parties in a quasi-judicial proceeding. Some constitutional issues must be considered by the ALJ in order to be preserved on appeal.
  2. Educational Law
    Adam T. Wolfe, “Theodore v. Delaware Valley School District: School Drug Testing and its Limitations under the Pennsylvania Constitution,” 14 Widener L.J. 505 (2005).The policies put in place by school districts are scrutinized under Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
  3. Ethics
    Amanda Irene Figgs, “Shaulis v. Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Continues to Wield its Exclusive Power to Regulate the Manner in Which an Attorney Practices Law,” 14 Widener L.J. 553.Figgs criticizes the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s interpretation of Article V, Section 10(c) of the Pennsylvania Constitution. She believes the Court has given itself too broad and exclusive a power in regulating the conduct of attorneys.
  4. Governmental Process
    Kelly L. Bonanno, “City of Philadelphia v. Commonwealth: A Cynic’s View of the Single-Subject Requirement and Germaneness Test,” 14 Widener L.J. 605 (2005).The author approves a strict application of Article III, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires term legislation have a single subject.Jose R. Legaspi, “Harrisburg School District v. Zogby: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Concludes it Cannot Countenance a “Closed Class” Created by the Education Empowerment Act,” 14 Widener L.J. 619 (2005).

    This survey analyzes special legislation empowering a mayoral takeover of certain school districts. Various constitutional provisions are relevant to the inquiry, but the author of the survey, as well as the Zogby opinion, support the conclusion that such legislation is an appropriate use of the general assembly’s authority.

    Sean J. Vanek, “Uniontown Newspapers v. Roberts: The Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Act and a State Legislator’s Right to Prevent you from Knowing,” 14 Widener L.J. 637 (2005).

    The author criticizes the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s approach to the claim that a reporter should have access to a legislator’s phone records under the Pennsylvania Constitution.

  5. Labor and Employment
    Jill M. Smith, “Nixon v. Commonwealth: Providing Protection to the Elderly and Disabled by Conducting Criminal Background Checks on Their Caretakers,” 14 Widener L.J. 679 (2005).The author of this survey finds much merit in the goal of the legislation struck down by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, but agrees with the Court’s conclusion that the way the legislation was applied against people with a wide range of criminal convictions was simply too disparate. As applied, the author agreed that the statute violated the Pennsylvania Constitution.

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Nancy P. Spyke, Heeding the Call: Making Sustainability a Matter of Pennsylvania Law, 109 Penn St. L. Rev. 729 (2005): Professor Spyke shares her vision of how Pennsylvania can achieve sustainability gradually. There is a brief discussion of Article I, section 27, which she observes has yet to fulfill its promise.

John Gedid, “Pennsylvania’s Declaration of Rights. ..”, 10/11/2004 PLW 5: focuses on Pennsylvania Constitution’s influence on the federal Bill of Rights and the various sources of change in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Jack Burns, Are Nonprofit Hospitals Really Charitable? Taking the Question to the State and Local Level, 29 J. Corp. L. 665: discusses tax exempt status under state law, including Pennsylvania State Constitutional Law.

Geoff Yuda, New to the Court, 26-JUN Pa. Law. 40: “Justice Max Baer, the newest member of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court, discusses the electoral process, what he hopes to accomplish and life off the bench”.