Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gov. Corbett's legal dominoes

The Corbett administration comes out on the short end of another legal ruling; could it be a trend?

Gov. Corbett's legal dominoes

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And so a seven-judge panel of Commonwealth Court on Tuesday ruled unanimously against Gov. Corbett in a right-to-know case involving an Associated Press effort to make public the governor's schedule and emails.

The governor's office said it will not appeal the ruling (which, again, was unanimous; by SEVEN judges) and will comply with AP's request.

This is yet another example of tax dollars, time and effort spent (read: wasted) on behalf of stuff the Corbett administration thinks it's right about when clearly it isn't.

Is this an ongoing legal game of dominoes for the Guv?

Commonwealth Court back in March ruled the administration was wrong when it cut health care (adult basic) to tens of thousands of lower income Pennsylvanians in 2011. Unclear if the administration is appealing.

That controversial Corbett lawsuit against the NCAA over Penn State sanctions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child-sex scandal is set to get a hearing next week in federal court as to whether the Guv has legal standing to pursue the case. Stand by for that ruling.

The state attorney general already has rejected Corbett's plan to privatize management of the state lottery. The administration has indicated it will try again.

(The buzz is the delay is due to the fact the state Supreme Court is down one member, locked in a three-Democrats, three- Republicans potential tie and Corbett is waiting to get a fourth Republican in place before setting the lottery issue on a track likely to end up before the Supreme Court.)

The administration-backed controversial voter ID law -- suspended for last year's election and this year's primary -- is headed back into court in July. Could that be ANOTHER loss?

And there are pending legal fights over local zoning and regulation of natural gas, state workers potentially displaced by privatized lottery management and/or booze and over whatever comes out of administration efforts to reform (read: reduce) state workers' pensions.

The first few legal dominoes haven't fallen the Guv's way. We'll see whether or not he picks up his game.

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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