Pennsylvania's Supreme Court has approved a magisterial realignment that consolidates two districts in the northwestern tier of Northampton County. But it will force two sitting District Judges - Diane Marakovits and Robert Hawke - to square off in a run-off election. District Judges have proposed an alternative plan. This one eliminates the seat held by District Judge Joseph Barner, who plans to retire. But it greatly inconveniences Bethlehem Township, Colonial Regional and Upper Nazareth police. President Judge Stephen Baratta has suggested it is a gerrymander. But there's a possible solution in the works.
Diane Marakovits, who presides over one of the districts being consolidated, could simply move into Barner's district when he retires and assume his duties by temporary assignment while she establishes the residency required. Several sources close to District Judges report that Marakovits is considering that option, though she has not been contacted at this point. I will try to do so today.