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PA Election 2023: New Interactive Tool Illustrates Why Judges Matter and How They Shape Policy

The new voter-centric tool allows Pennsylvanians to explore how courts have shaped policies on issues from abortion to gun control, ahead of the November election.

PA Election 2023: New Interactive Tool Illustrates Why Judges Matter and How They Shape Policy

by Elizabeth Estrada of Spotlight PA

Photo courtesy of Daniel Fishel / For Spotlight PA

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Elections for seats on Pennsylvania’s highest courts tend to lack the urgency of other races, as those courts seem to operate far from our everyday lives, especially when compared to the work of local and state officials.

But judges in these positions hold an immense amount of power and make decisions that profoundly impact some of the most pressing and hot-button issues of our time, including abortion, civil liberties, education, voting and elections, and the environment.

That’s why Spotlight PA is launching a new voter tool ahead of this November’s judicial contests to illustrate how the courts in recent years have affected the policies you care about most.

We combed through hundreds of decisions and identified those that have had the greatest implications for everything from paid sick leave to legislative districts to gun control. Our team has broken down why these rulings matter and how they directly affect your life.

You can browse the different cases by topic or work your way through them to discover something new.

This tool is part of Spotlight PA’s ongoing Democracy Initiative, a unique effort to help voters navigate Pennsylvania elections and access the information they need to cast an informed vote in their best interest. You can support this groundbreaking, nonpartisan project by making a tax-deductible gift to Spotlight PA here.

We’ve also created brief, easy-to-understand guides to each of Pennsylvania’s three appellate courts — SupremeSuperior, and Commonwealth — that explain what they are responsible for, how judges get selected, and more.


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