Reps. Kenyatta and Krajewski, PLBC condemn H.B. 38

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – State Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Rick Krajewski, co-chairs of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus’ Subcommittee on Voting and Democracy, today condemned Republican state Rep. Russ Diamond’s dangerous proposal that would amend the state constitution to divide the state’s highest courts into over 30 districts across the state.

Kenyatta and Krajewski, both D-Phila., also slammed claims made by Diamond, R-Lebanon, to bolster his proposal that these changes would allow for more Black judges in the appellate court system.

“So much blood has been spilled on American streets in the fight to safeguard our democracy. It’s a fight that continues today, but state Representative Russ Diamond’s proposal spits in the faces of these slain foot soldiers for justice, making their pursuits count for naught, and stands to undo their legacy by usurping power from the people and placing it in the palm of the one-party-controlled General Assembly to gerrymander judicial districts,” Kenyatta said. “Additionally, Representative Diamond padding support for his dangerous bill with feigned concern for diversifying our courts system is an absolute disgrace.

“This bill doesn’t allow for more Black justices—that’s just a ruse. It would instead minimize Black voting power in Pennsylvania’s largest and predominately Black cities to elect only three justices statewide. This bill further bars Black and other historically marginalized communities access in the reshaping of our courts system, while predisposing them to perpetual victimhood of our flawed court system.”

“We as lawmakers have a real opportunity to reform and racially diversify our courts system by working in tandem with local activists to empower local committees and voters with the tools to make proactive approaches in vetting and electing well-rounded judicial candidates. However, this proposal, H.B. 38, stomps at any attempt of meaningful progress,” Krajewski said.

“We all watched in horror as Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers tried to viciously revoke the will of the people in the 2020 election—an election year with record-high voter turnout, especially among voters of color. It is the same lawmakers who stoked the flames of the deadly insurrection at our nation’s Capitol, and participated, who would be given full power to control an integral institution that impacts all of our lives daily.”