Like the stone thrown in a lake, the ripple effects of the delay in finalizing new congressional and state senate and house district maps continue to spread. Probably all of us have read or heard about how the delay already has played havoc with candidates’ efforts to canvass for and obtain the necessary numbers of registered voter signatures to appear on the primary election ballots. Perhaps less known is the impact of the delay on our appellate courts. In what can only be described as an “all hands on deck” effort to address the anticipated litigation flood from the truncated time frames, Commonwealth Court cancelled its April argument session scheduled for this week in Harrisburg “upon consideration of the modified 2022 General Primary Election calendar directed by [the PA Supreme Court] . . . and in light of the need for this Court to devote adequate resources and attention to the expeditious disposition of objections to nomination petitions and other election-related matters in advance of the May 17, 2022 General Primary Election . . . .” Per the cancellation Notice and Order, cases that would have been listed for April will be rescheduled to the next appropriate list.

In the most recent development, the Supreme Court by Order issued April 5, 2022 temporarily truncated the appeal and briefing periods applicable to appeals from challenges to nominating petitions. What formerly was a 10-day period for filing appeals is now reduced to 5 days. Weekends and holidays are not excluded from calculating the 5-day period. Appellants’ briefs must be filed within 24 hours of filing their appeal and jurisdictional statement. Appellees’ briefs are due within 24 hours of Appellants’ briefs and no replies are permitted.

About the Author:

Dennis A. Whitaker, partner at Hawke, McKeon & Sniscak, LLP, is an experienced litigator with over 25 years of Commonwealth service.  Focusing on government appellate and original jurisdiction practice in state and federal courts, Dennis offers sound advice, creative solutions, and effective strategies to clients navigating the appeals process.