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MARTONICK v. BEATTIE. (10/28/55)

October 28, 1955

MARTONICK, APPELLANT,
v.
BEATTIE.



Appeals, Nos. 90 and 93, Jan. T., 1956, from order of the Superior Court, Nos. 35, 36, 37, and 38, Oct. T., 1956, reversing orders of Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, Oct. T., 1955, Nos. 77 and 78, in cases of George Martonick v. Paul E. Beattie, Chairman, Republican Party of Carbon County, et al., and Michael J. Baddick v. Same. Order of Superior Court vacated; orders of Court of Common Pleas reversed.

COUNSEL

John Dobash and Snyder, Wert & Wilcox, for appellants.

George B. Richards, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 383 Pa. Page 169]

ORDER PER CURIAM, October 28, 1955: The order of the Superior Court is vacated for lack of jurisdiction. The orders of the Court of Common Pleas are reversed and the County Board of Elections is directed to print on the ballots the names of Michael Smar for Supervisor and Stephen Haber for School Director. Opinion to be filed later. Mr. Justice MUSMANNO dissents.

[ 383 Pa. Page 170]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES, November 14, 1955:

We granted allocaturs in the above appeals for want of jurisdiction in the Superior Court. The appeals, having been erroneously taken to that court, should have at once been certified to this court. But, failing that, we acted to bring the proceedings here and forthwith vacated the Superior Court's order on the merits. It was manifestly essential that we do so. That order was plainly coram non judice; and the jurisdictional intrusion thereby, if left uncorrected, could only have led to uncertainty, confusion and possible harmful delay in future election controversies.

The appeals then being before us, we made our independent review of the questions involved and reversed the orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Carbon County, noting that an opinion would be filed later.

Generally speaking, jurisdiction to review cases arising under the election laws of the Commonwealth is in the Supreme Court. Such controversies are brought here invariably on certiorari - a writ which this court is authorized to issue under its King's Bench powers conferred by Section 13 of the Act of May 22, 1722, Sm.L. 131. See Rimer's Contested Election, 316 Pa. 342, 345-346, 175 A. 544. The reason the review of such a controversy is in this court on certiorari is patent. The election laws are all but silent as to any right of appeal beyond the courts of common pleas and quarter sessions.*fn1

The instances are few, indeed, where a right of appeal in an election case is statutorily conferred. One such instance is where "the nomination or election of a judge of the Supreme or Superior Court or of a ...


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