Archive for July, 2009

Jul 29 2009

Questioning Elections in Indiana

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection,Opinion

An editorial in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette suggests that Merit Selection might be the solution to the problems of money and politics influencing judicial selection. Faced with a mixed system in which some judges are elected in partisan contests, others run in nonpartisan elections and still others reach office through a Merit Selection system, […]

2 responses so far

Jul 27 2009

Nevada Should Look to Merit Selection

Former Nevada Chief Justice Bob Rose urges Nevada to adopt Merit Selection.  His piece in the Reno Gazette-Journal argues that the Merit Selection system currently in place to fill interim vacancies should be used to fill all judicial posts. First, Rose explains that the current Merit Selection system has done a good job finding qualified […]

One response so far

Jul 23 2009

Setting Records in Wisconsin

Published by under Judges,News

An AP report on WCCO in Wisconsin informs us that Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson set a new fundraising record in her recent reelection campaign.  She raised $1.47 million. This was enough to break the $1.45 million record set just two years ago in another race for the state Supreme Court. Where did Chief Justice Abrahamson’s […]

One response so far

Jul 22 2009

Something’s Still Rotten in the State of West Virginia

Published by under Judges,News

A little over a month has passed since the Caperton decision, and things still seem to be rotten in the state of West Virginia. Both the Charleston Gazette and the Associated Press (via are reporting new accusations of judicial impropriety in a case involving Massey Energy, the coal company that was accused in Caperton […]

One response so far

Jul 20 2009

A Little Bit Can Go a Long Way

Published by under Judges,News

A judge in New Orleans is facing removal from the bench because she is alleged to have made a damages award to a plaintiff not based on the merits of the case but because she wanted to help his lawyer, who had contributed to her election campaign.  Interestingly, the numbers at issue here — both […]

3 responses so far

Jul 17 2009

Who Are they Again?

Published by under Judges,Opinion

An editorial in the News & Record of Greensboro, NC highlights one of the big problems with judicial elections: voters don’t have a lot of information about the candidates running for the bench.  The editorial makes its point by demonstrating how much people know about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as opposed to the […]

One response so far

Jul 15 2009

Making the Case for Merit Selection

In a guest column for the Times-Tribune in Scranton, PMC Board Chair Bob Heim makes the case for Merit Selection.  Heim begins with a discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Caperton and then offers this insight about the problematic role of money in judicial elections: There’s no question that, , if one side […]

2 responses so far

Jul 14 2009

A Good Place To Start

The Charleston Daily Mail reports that the Independent Commission on Judicial Reform appointed by Governor Joe Manchin will be focusing on “judicial selection, campaign finance rules, and the right to appeal.”  Since these have been major issues in West Virginia recently, this seems to us like a good place to start.  We hope that Pennsylvania […]

One response so far

Jul 10 2009

Money and Judicial Selection Shouldn’t Mix

Steve Jagler’s editorial in raises some important questions swirling around now that recusal is a hot topic.  These questions highlight the ongoing problems with judicial elections and the need to find a solution that gets judges out of the fundraising business altogether. Jagler notes that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been presented with two […]

No responses yet

Jul 09 2009

Advice from Two Respected Jurists

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that during the Aspen Ideas Festival last week, U.S Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor offered strong words for the states that elect judges. The Justices’ words should encourage the public to engage in a serious dialogue about judicial selection reform. Justice O’Connor, a […]

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