PBA Issues Statement About the Election, the Courts and the Right to Representation

HARRISBURG (Nov. 23, 2020) — Pennsylvania Bar Association President David E. Schwager has issued the following statement on behalf of the Board of Governors of the state’s largest organized bar association:

“The Pennsylvania Bar Association supports the right of all citizens of Pennsylvania to vote in our elections. Many months before the pandemic, the Pennsylvania Legislature made it easier for citizens to vote by authorizing the use of mail-in ballots, a move that further assured the right to vote. We have confidence in our election process and believe that all Pennsylvanians should remain confident in the validity and integrity of our elections, including the use of mail-in ballots.

“The laws of Pennsylvania assure that all campaigns and political parties have rights to observe the process of tabulating ballots. In addition, our laws provide remedies to those who believe and can prove that voting irregularities changed the outcome of an election. Often, those remedies involve recourse to our courts. 

“As lawyers, we support the right of every person and every organization to access the judicial system to pursue meritorious claims. We have confidence in our independent judiciary to properly adjudicate such claims. However, our court system must not be utilized for political gain or as a public arena to air unfounded grievances. Claims filed in court must be substantiated with a factual and a legal foundation. Any claim lacking such foundations should be dismissed.

“We also support a litigant’s right to secure legal counsel of their choice. Pennsylvania lawyers have a long and storied tradition of providing legal services to all who may require such services. Without the services of a lawyer, access to our system of justice is jeopardized. Lawyers should not be criticized simply because the cause they pursue is unpopular or the client they represent is out of favor. So long as the case has a factual and a legal foundation and is brought for a legitimate purpose, everyone has the right to have their day in court and to do so while represented by the lawyer of their choice.

“We call upon election officials, the courts of this commonwealth and the federal courts to continue ensuring that every legal vote is counted. We stand by our continued defense of the rule of law to advance our democracy and protect the rights of all people.”

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state's largest organized bar association.