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amendments as well as for repeal of the article on railroads and canals - all this in addition to numerous proposals for change in other articles.

It is true that an attempt is made to grade the proposals in different classes of "critically needed” and “very desirable.” This, however, is obviously a more or less fanciful and arbitrary classification, there being, necessarily, various degrees both of "critical need” and “great desirability,” so that these are, at best, merely relative and not absolute terms. And the question naturally arises, - since all of the recommendations are admittedly at least to some extent desirable, for what good reason should they not all be adopted, which, because of their number, can, as a practical matter, be accomplished only by a general constitutional revision? Indeed, even if only the “first class,” - the 33 so-called critically needed amendments, were to be considered, they are far too numerous to make it realistically possible to submit them to the electorate through the amendatory process. Moreover, if they are critically needed it must be borne in mind that that process requires action by two legislatures preceding the vote of the people, involving a delay of at least three or four years, whereas a general revision could probably be accomplished in half that time.

The fact is that our Constitution, which is now 85 years old, is an antiquated instrument of government, utterly inadequate for present needs. We would, therefore, urge that the Legislature provide the necessary machinery for obtaining a general revision of the Constitution rather than for piecemeal amendments, whether 33 or 123 in number.

Respectfully submitted,
Genevieve Blatt

Jefferson B. Fordham
Richardson Dilworth Harriet McGeehan

Horace Stern

I wish to say a word about my vote for general constitutional revision.

Having listened to a great many expressions of opinion, both in our Commission's hearings and elsewhere, I do not believe there is any real possibility of getting approval for a constitutional convention in Pennsylvania in the immediate future. Because of this, I agree with the majority that if early improvement is to be made in the constitution, the addition of some amendments holds the more promise.

I voted with the minority in favor of a constitutional convention, however, in order to place on the record my belief that the more thorough job of revision which is needed can not come about until the citizens vote for a convention.

M. Nelson McGeary

(Art. II, Sec. 18)

We have reluctantly concurred in the recommendation of the majority regarding the amendment of this section.

It is our firm belief, however, that it would be much preferable to provide an alternate non-legislative means for effecting reapportionment if the General Assembly fails to act.

We agree that members of the General Assembly would be under strong moral pressure to reapportion in a special session, if one had to be called. If, however, they should resist such pressure and still refuse to act, there would be no reapportionment. In our opinion, the threat of action by some non-legislative body such as a bi-partisan commission appointed by the Governor or by the Supreme Court, or by both acting together, would produce better and surer results.

If the amendment hopefully suggested by the Commission proves ineffective, as we fear it may, we would urge further amendment along the lines we have herein suggested.

Genevieve Blatt
Richardson Dilworth


(Art. IV, Sec. 3) We dissent from the Commission's recommendation because, in our opinion, the possibility of succession should not be limited to one additional term.

It seems to us that the experience of the Federal Government, which is now operating under a limited succession amendment insofar as the Presidency is concerned, is ample and current evidence that the efficiency of the chief executive office bcomes increasingly more handicapped as the time approaches when the term of that executive must end. In order to maintain maximum efficiency throughout the chief executive's term of office, it seems to us that the possibility should always exist that he might succeed himself, if he so desires and if the voters so decide.

We believe that the voters will retire from office any chief executive who has ceased to render service in accordance with the will of the majority of the people. They may do this at the end of his first term, or at the end of any succeeding term, but they should still have the power to keep him in office for as many terms as they may desire.

Genevieve Blatt
Richardson Dilworth


(Art. IV, Secs. 1, 21) We dissent from the recommendation of the majority of the Commission that the office of State Treasurer be continued as a constitutional, elective office.

In our opinion, the State Treasurer has come to be a banking and bookkeeping agent only, without the policy-making and other fiscal duties which may previously have justified his constitutional, elective status.

The actual collection of state funds is now handled by the Secretary of Revenue. Appropriations are made on the order of the department concerned, subject to the approval of the Auditor General. Thus, the State Treasurer merely stands in an intermediate position as the custodian and investor of state funds after their collection by one official and until their expenditure subject to the approval of another. It seems to us that he might well be appointed by the Governor. It also seems to us that, in time, the more efficient and economical operation of the state fiscal system might indicate the propriety of abolishing the office and letting the Secretary of Revenue and the Auditor General divide its functions. This, however, could not be done if there are constitutional provisions establishing the office and requiring its elective status and prescribing its duties.

Genevieve Blatt
Richardson Dilworth

Philip Price


(Art. 5, Sec. 25) In Pennsylvania the people elect their judges. The majority of the Commission is apparently of the opinion that the people make so many mistakes, that the right to choose their judges should be taken away from them. The Commission recommends the adoption of what is substantially the “Missouri Plan," renamed by its advocates as the “Pennsylvania Plan.”

Under the plan, the governor, the lawyers, the judiciary and a citizens' group are all to have a hand in the selection of judges. The electorate is to have a voice only in rejecting them.

In reality, the plan provides for the appointment instead of the election of judges. All judges are to be appointed by the Governor. In theory, the Governor is to choose the appointee from a list given him by a commission composed of three citizens appointed by him, and a judge and three lawyers chosen under rules prescribed by the Supreme Court. In actuality, under the plan the Governor may appoint whomever he pleases, for he can continue to reject the Commission's suggestions until he is given the name of the person whom he desires to appoint. Of course, the Governor is free to consult whomever he wishes and to accept the recommendations of whomever he pleases. He will not even have the "check” of confirmation by the Senate, which he now has in case of interim judicial appointments made when the Senate is in session.

It is argued that the plan works in Missouri, (although there can be found those who question that). But, what will happen in Pennsylvania can best be determined from what has happened here. Pennsylvania officials and politicians have proven themselves capable of adjusting to new procedures in government, whatever they may have been.

There is every indication that governors will continue to appoint judges from members of their own party. Presidents of the United States have made only token judicial appointments of persons not affiliated with their own party. Governors of Pennsylvania have not even made token interim judicial appointments of persons outside their own political party. The electorate of Pennsylvania has a better record of

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crossing party lines in selecting judges than have either presidents or governors.

In most judicial districts the election of a judge engenders as much genuine interest as the election of any official, state or national. If the people of Philadelphia look upon the election of their judges as a matter subordinate to the election of other officials, that is a matter peculiar to Philadelphia.

To suggest that the electorate is not competent to choose judges is not to attack the present method of choosing judges, but to attack democracy itself.

Under the plan the people have no part in the selection, but only in the rejection of judges. There is no way for an individual, or a segment, or even a majority of the voters to bring a candidate before the electorate—that power rests solely with the Governor. A lawyer is denied the right to submit his name to the people as a candidate for judge regardless of how many voters' signatures he could obtain on a petition.

No one can predict the approximate percentage of rejections by the electorate on a “Yes” or “No” vote, for we have no precedents. This type of voting is foreign to us; it is a procedure copied from a different type of democracy.” However, it is reasonable to assume there would be virtually no rejections. Where officials are “elected” on a “Yes” or “No” vote, approval is nearly unanimous. “You cannot lick somebody with nobody," is a tried and accepted political slogan, even in America.

The qualifications of officials are best determined by comparisons. Without a contest between different people these comparisons are not made. Those who would be willing to point out the superior qualifications of a competing candidate, are likely to remain silent rather than be put in the position of attacking a judge, even though they know he lacks the necessary qualifications.

But let us assume that, contrary to our expectations, the electorate would take to rejecting a substantial number of judges. The result would be equally unfortunate. Able and established lawyers who might, under the present system, be persuaded to run for a judicial position while still retaining their practice until assured of a ten year term, could not be persuaded to give up their practice for a 11/4 to 244 year appointment, if there were a substantial chance of rejection at the end of such period. To be defeated by another lawyer for a judgeship is a risk a qualified lawyer might be willing to take, but to be rejected by the electorate as unfit would be a disgrace no respected lawyer would wish to chance.

There is greater delay in filling judicial vacancies under the federal appointive system than under our state elective system. The reverse would be true if Pennsylvania adopted the plan. Choosing the members of the Commission, having a majority of them agree upon three names to be submitted, and then having the Governor choose one from the list will be time consuming. The Governor might reject the list, once, twice or oftener. This could go on for years as neither the Commission nor the Governor are required to act within any definite time. There is no reason to assume that a Governor would act on the list more promptly than he now acts on recommendations of bar associations and political leaders. Furthermore, under the plan the Governor is not "prodded” by the practical consideration of a convening or adjourning Senate, or an approaching judicial election.

The creation of needed judgeships is more frequently postponed under the federal appointive system than under the state elective system. When the legislature and the executive are of different political parties there is a tendency to postpone the creation of new judgeships in order to deny the executive opportunities to appoint. The tendency is not as marked when judges are elected, as they are in Pennsylvania.

Taking from the people the right to choose their own judges will not improve the administration of law. It will not take politics out of either the appointment, or the “election” to which every judge will be subjected. It has “built in” machinery which will increase the delays in filling vacancies, and creating needed judgeships. It will discourage rather than encourage qualified lawyers to seek judicial office.

Milton G. Baker
Matthew A. Crawford
Robert D. Fleming
Gwendolyn W. MacCartney
O. Jacob Tallman
Edwin W. Tompkins
Robert E. Woodside


(Art. IX, Sec. 1)

The failure of the majority of the Commission to recommend amendment of this section is, in our opinion, a serious mistake. It is an omission which may vitiate much of the hard work done by the Commission in pointing out other but less fundamental modernizations of our basic law.

The greatest need of this Commonwealth, it seems to us, is a tax system which is sufficiently flexible to raise enough revenue to meet the Commonwealth's needs without unreasonable hardship on any taxpayer. Yet such a system, based on the well reorganized principle of “ability to pay,” is probably impossible under this section.

Tax laws which permit neither graduation nor exemption work great hardships on many taxpayers, and impose far too great a proportionate share of the tax burden on people of limited means. Such tax laws, however—flat income taxes, sales taxes and various kinds of uniformly levied excise taxes—are inevitable under this section.

Adoption of an amendment which would permit the graduation of taxes and certain exemptions would obviously and certainly not require the enactment of non-uniform taxes; it would still be for the General Assembly to decide when and if such taxes should be levied. Nor would adoption of such an amendment of itself provide exemptions or graduations in any tax laws, such as are now provided by the federal government and several other states; it would, again, be for the General Assembly to say when and if any such exemption or graduation should be allowed.

Amendment of this section would, in our opinion, remove the shackles which have prevented the General Assembly from enacting modern and adequate tax legislation in the past. It would likewise leave

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