News & Brews June 1, 2022

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The latest court developments on undated mail-in ballots

Yesterday was a busy legal day! First, the Commonwealth Court heard three hours of oral argument in a case brought by David McCormick over counting undated mail-in ballots in the GOP Senate primary. Then, the state Supreme Court rejected McCormick’s request to intervene in the case. And rounding out the day, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an administrative stay on the recent Third Circuit ruling that said undated ballots in the 2021 Lehigh County judicial race should be counted. This is the ruling underlying McCormick’s case in Commonwealth Court, so the SCOTUS stay could impact the state case. Meanwhile, the automatic recount triggered by the close margin between McCormick and Mehmet Oz is underway, and McCormick has requested a hand-count in “potentially hundreds of precincts.” Clear as mud, yes? Read more here and here.

PLCB loses in court … again

In another case raising the age-old question, “Why does the PLCB even exist anymore?,” the Commonwealth Court ruled yesterday that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is liable for damages, lawyers’ fees, and interest for breaking state law regarding direct shipment of special order wines to restaurants. The PLCB had claimed sovereign immunity as a government agency, but the court didn’t buy it. Gee, imagine all these legal battles we could avoid if lawmakers simply got government out of the liquor business and abolished the PLCB.

PA Medicaid contracts drop pro-unionization language

A while back, I shared concerns that draft language in state Medicaid contracts “could compel unionization in some Pennsylvania health systems.” Now, the Center Square reports, “After a months-long controversy over unionization language in Medicaid contracts that sparked a lawsuit, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has removed the provision in question, citing concerns about ‘misinformation’ and ‘confusion.'” Ah, yes, ‘misinformation’ is always the culprit when government is caught red-handed doing something nefarious. Next up, we’ll undoubtedly have ‘fact checkers’ conclude the government is right. For now, at least, the removal of the language is a win for health care access for Pennsylvanians.

‘Voters reject status quo in Pennsylvania’

Charles McElwee, editor of RealClear Pennsylvania, writes that our recent primary election “tested voters’ capacity for populism or moderation.” What was the result? McElwee notes that “many Republicans and Democrats embraced the most ideological or populist candidates and rejected moderation or incumbency in their respective closed primaries. Overall, the primary offers clues for the November general election….” Read Charles’ piece here.

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