Archive for February, 2008

Feb 27 2008

Retired Supreme Court Justice Supports Merit Selection

Published by under Merit Selection News

  Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is a long time supporter of judicial reform. Recently, Justice O’Connor wrote an article for Parade magazine which recognized merit selection as an excellent way to protect the judiciary from the influence of politics. The article is available here.

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Feb 25 2008

Another call for reform

Published by under Merit Selection News

Before last year’s November elections, the Towanda Daily & Sunday Review explained why they don’t regularly endorse judicial candidates — they think the current

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“Merit appointment, with state Senate confirmation, would be a better way to ensure the basic qualifications of appellate candidates. And it would ensure greater judicial independence by taking money out of the process.”

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Feb 22 2008

Merit, not money

Published by under Merit Selection News

Prior to the November elections last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an editorial calli

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ng for merit selection, citing advertisements supporting Maureen Lally-Green purchased by a Virginia-based nonprofit which refused to disclose their funding sources.

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Feb 21 2008

Columnist: Selection of Judges “Ripe For Reform”

Published by under Merit Selection News

Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer wrote last year that merit selection is sorely needed in Pennsylvania:

That we elect statewide judges at all is insane.

Their campaigns are funded by lawyers, law firms and other interests whose cases they hear, creating the impression that justice is for sale.

By choice or canon, candidates say little for fear of prejudging cases, leaving voters clueless as to what they might believe. We pick on the basis of a good-sounding name, gender, ballot position or whim. Crazy.

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Feb 20 2008

Post-Gazette: Piccola's goals include merit selection

Published by under Merit Selection News

Nearly a year ago, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Sen. Jeffrey Piccola‘s top goals for reform included merit selection.

“As it is, the issues that Sen. Piccola believes should be tac

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kled all hold great promise. Chief among them for the Post-Gazette are:

Adopting a merit selection system to choose judges. Voters should have a role in approving an appointed panel’s selection eventually, but they often don’t bother to learn enough about the candidates to make an informed initial choice.”

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Feb 10 2008

Editorial Calls for Merit Selection in West Virginia

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nbsp; The West Virginia Supreme Court is embroiled in a major scandal, involving a multi-million dollar election, and multiple recusals from the trial of a big campaign donor. The Huntington Herald-Dispatch sees the whole mess as a clear reason for the state to adopt a Merit Selection system. In their words, “a judiciary independent of elections is the best safeguard against the influence of… money.” Read the complete editorial here

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Feb 09 2008

Why Merit Selection is Good for Wisconsin

Published by under Merit Selection News

  Like Pennsylvania, the state of Wisconsin is badly in need of reform for its system of selecting judges. While some are calling for publicly financed elections, one lawyer thinks that Merit Selection is a better alternative. His thoughtful letter to the editor of Madison’s Capital Times is available here.

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Feb 02 2008

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Feb 01 2008

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The results of a Tulane University study suggest that, at least in Louisiana, campaign contributions to judges are a good way to get an advantage in the court room. The researchers looked at how often each justice on the state’s Supreme Court voted for plaintiffs and defendants. Then, they looked to see if those votes tended to change when a campaign donor was among the parties or lawyers involved.

Not surprisingly, justices voted in favor of campaign donors far more often than non-donors.

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It also appears that the tendency increased with the size of the donation. To read more about campaign money and its influence on justice in Louisiana, click here. (free, requires registration)

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Feb 01 2008

Pittsburgh Paper Has Called for Merit Selection Since 2003

Published by under Merit Selection News

  The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has called for merit selection of judges since at least 2003, when the state Senate voted to confirm the appointment of William H. Lamb of Chester County to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court – a position he held for only a year.

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