ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 2066 would require the judicial branch to consolidate its operations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to the Judicial Center in Harrisburg. Closing all judicial offices outside the city of Harrisburg would limit public access to our courts.
The Supreme Court, Superior Court, and Commonwealth Court all have Eastern, Middle, and Western districts and associated offices and courtrooms. These are not redundancies—they exist not only as an administrative convenience but to ensure access to those courts. Litigants who need to file papers or need copies can go in person to the closest office (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, or Pittsburgh) to do so. Perhaps more importantly, litigants and attorneys can schedule arguments in those same locations without having to travel to Harrisburg and rent accommodations to stay overnight for every argument.
Consolidating these offices would disproportionately affect those who benefit from this access the most, including low-income people, people with disabilities, those with child care needs, or anyone else who cannot readily travel across the state for an appellate court hearing. While a consolidation may save the state some money, HB 2066 misses the real value that these district offices offer to Pennsylvanians.
Check the bill's status here.