Philadelphia partner Alicia Hickok was quoted in a Law360 article titled, “Pa. Court's Tax Law Reprieve May Fuel Political Maneuvering.” The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow state lawmakers additional time for fixing an unconstitutional tax scheme for casinos has raised concerns over possible clashing between the judicial and legislative branches.
Alicia notes that the initial ruling, penned by Justice Wecht, is thoughtful in its wording, and that “It balances the unconstitutionality, it balances judicial restraint, it balances the need to have legislative response.”
She also observed that the legislative leaders’ return to the court for an extension of the original stay – which was designed to balance the right of the General Assembly to make decisions against the local governments’ need for money – raised Justice Wecht’s hackles in his dissent: “You really have a thumbing of the nose at a court order, and where he had bent over backwards to exercise judicial restraint, they just kind of came back and slapped him in the face.”
In addition, Alicia stated that “The order sends the message to the Legislature that they can play games. They've already doubled their time. Could they extend it again? Probably likely, right? And the question is why would you set up that battle between the branches.”