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Cole Wintheiser, Confronting Justice Head-On: The Role of States in Protecting Face-to-Face Confrontation, University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2020). Cole Wintheiser writes how Pennsylvania addressed its own confrontation clause in Commonwealth v. Ludwig, which established that the use of closed-circuit testimony would be an infringement of the defendant’s constitutional right to face-to-face confrontation. However, following this opinion, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed a proposal to amend the requirement, which essentially abrogated the Ludwig decision. Through this, Wintheiser points out how obtaining a majority vote in order to respond to and reverse state supreme court rulings is much less difficult on the state level than on the federal level.

Michael J. Schwab, Long Live the King: The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s King’s Bench Powers Rightfully Crown it as King of the Commonwealth’s Judiciary, Villanova Law Review (2020). Michal J. Schwab discusses the King’s Bench, a form of jurisdiction the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania possesses that allows the court to select and hear any issue at any stage in the Commonwealth’s court proceedings. Schwab writes that decisions granting King’s Bench petitions serve as reminders of how the court is compelled is to fulfill its oversight obligations. The author argues that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania should continue to use King’s Bench under proper circumstances. 

Carrie R. Garrison, Justice Hasted Is Justice Wasted: League of Women Voters v. Commonwealth, 58 Duq. L. Rev. 441 (2020). Carrie Garrison writes that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth was too hasty of an exercise of extraordinary jurisdiction, when the Court should have waited for the United States Supreme Court’s guidance in Gill v. Whitford. It was impossible to fact-find in fifty-three days or to redraw the congressional district map for the state in three weeks. Garrison concludes that the case’s haste endorses separation of powers violations in the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Christopher Winkler, Grand Jury Under Fire: The Debate over Reputational Rights and Pennsylvania’s Investigating Grand Jury Reports, 58 Duq. L. Rev. 301 (2020). Christopher Winkler writes that Pennsylvania’s grand jury investigation into the Catholic Church in 2018 did not give some clergy members fair opportunities to rebut the allegations against them before their reputations were destroyed by the report. The Pennsylvania Constitution protects one’s right to reputation, and the author argues that to allow reputational harm to ensue without due process impacts the integrity of that right. Ultimately, Winkler argues that  the clergy named in the report should have been given the chance to present a defense to the grand jury before their names were released in the report.

Joel Fishman, Creating a Biographical Dictionary of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: A Bibliographical Essay, in 12 Unbound: A Review of Legal History and Rare Books 55 (Mark Podvia, Noelle M. Sinclair, Kurt X. Metzmeier, Christine Anne George, Joel Fishman, & Ryan Greenwood eds., 2020). Dr. Joel Fishman writes that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Court Administrator approved the creation of a biographical dictionary of the Court’s judiciary, dating back to the founding of the state’s Supreme Court in 1684. Since that time, there have been approximately 165 justices. The author describes some sources used to create the biographical dictionary including treatises, periodicals, and state publications and websites.

Frank Pryzbylkowski, Exercising Environmental Rights: Exploring the State Action Requirement for Article i, Section 27, 29 Widener Commonwealth L. Rev. 281 (2020). Frank Pryzbylkowski argues that Commonwealth v. Nat’l Gettysburg Battlefield Tower, Inc., 302 A.2d 886 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1973) should not be used to decide the question of whether Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution applies to private actors. Gettysburg held that the Attorney General could not enforce Section 27 because the enforcement powers were given to the Commonwealth as a whole. However, subsequent case law has held that all branches and agencies of the Commonwealth have an affirmative duty to enforce this section. Ultimately, the author argues that private citizens should be able to bring Section 27 claims against a private party that is regulated by the Commonwealth through a claim of state action.

Charlie Stewart, State Court Litigation: The New Front in the War Against Partisan Gerrymandering, 116 Mich. L. Rev. Online 152 (2018). Charlie Stewart writes that Pennsylvania’s League of Women Voters of Pa. v. Commonwealth, 174 A.3d 282 (Pa. 2018) opened the door for bringing a state constitutional challenge to gerrymandering. By bringing a state challenge instead of a federal challenge, the parties in the case bypassed unfavorable precedent in the federal system. Because state courts may be open to more novel ideas and new arguments regarding gerrymandering, Stewart argues that Pennsylvania should serve as a model for other states to address partisan gerrymandering.

Matthew Steilen, The Constitutional Convention and Constitutional Change: A Revisionist History, 24 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 1 (2020). Matthew Steilen discusses the history of constitutional conventions in Pennsylvania by addressing the works of intellectual historian Gordon Wood. Wood believed that Pennsylvania’s constitutional conventions helped frame the citizens’ fundamental laws and were essential to the emergence of the American concept of fundamental law.

Jerrold A. Sulcove, Life After Birchfield: A Review of Developments in the Law of Dui Prosecution in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania After Birchfield v. North Dakota, 29 Widener Commonwealth L. Rev. 105 (2020). Jerrold A. Sulcove reviews the history of DUI prosecution law in Pennsylvania. Specifically, he analyzes the change in Pennsylvania law after the Birchfield v. North Dakotacase, which concluded that warrantless blood draws incident to a DUI arrest were unconstitutional. 

Kaitlin L. Meola, State Constitutional Law-Ex Post Facto-the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds That Pennsylvania’s New Sex Offender Registration Law Violates the Federal and State Constitutions. Commonwealth v. Muniz, 164 A.3d 1189, (Pa. 2017), 71 Rutgers U.L. Rev. 1333 (2019). Kaitlin L. Meola analyzes Commonwealth v. Munizcase, which held that applying SORNA retroactively violates the ex post factoclause of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

Sean Philip Kraus, The Fire Rises: Refining the Pennsylvania Fireworks Law So That Fewer People Get Burned, 123 Dick. L. Rev. 747 (2019). Sean Philip Kraus discusses Pennsylvania’s Revised Fireworks Act and argues that it violates Article I, Section 11 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because it insufficiently protects consumers. Kraus argues that the fireworks law should include a tax and subsidy scheme that would strategically inform customers of the dangers of fireworks. He also contends that the law should include provisions to create fairer competition between permanent and temporary vendors.

Penina Kessler Lieber, Defining Pennsylvania Health Care Charities: An Ongoing Challenge, 91 Pa. B.A. Q. 32 (2020). Penina Kessler Lieber discusses the question: “What is an institution of Purely Public Charity?” The charitable tax exemption in the Pennsylvania Constitution allowed the General Assembly to provide exemptions for institutions of purely public charity, but courts have since struggled to create an applicable standard for this exemption.