The Judicial Independence Project of PA-JIPPA

What is JIPPA?

The Judicial Independence Project of Pennsylvania is a nonpartisan table of both grasstops and grassroots organizations working to keep our courts free from the influence of partisan attacks that seek to undermine the independence of the courts. JIPPA member organizations have joined together to fight back against an attempt to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution by dividing our state appellate courts into regional judicial districts. 

What does judicial independence mean?

Judicial independence means judges make their decisions

  • free from monied interests without being beholden to individual, group or sector interests.
  • free from influence from other branches of government.
  • free from the sway of electoral or partisan politics.
  • without conflicts of interest.
  • exercising judicial discretion to account for specific circumstances.

An independent and accountable judiciary is

  • impartial: free from conflicts of interest and undue influence.
  • ethical: follows clearly defined rules of behavior. 
  • fairly selected: selected in as fair and impartial way as possible where the process is insulated from political pressures. 
  • transparent: operates with full disclosure of a judge’s financial obligations and ties, interests trying to influence/elect the judge, and how judges are selected.
  • evaluated and monitored: performance is regularly evaluated by a neutral, nonpartisan, non-interested group.
  • resourced: publicly funded, fully funded, and protected. 
  • discretion: has ability to make appropriate decisions accounting for specific circumstances — e.g. sentencing, bail, and early release.

Our video explaining why electing appellate courts justices and judges undermines judicial independence