Archive for August, 2009

Aug 28 2009

Merit Selection Envy

Immediate Past President of the American Bar Association H. Thomas Wells confesses that he suffers from “Merit Selection Envy.”  The Chatanooga Times Free Press reports that Wells explained: “I will tell you from a personal standpoint that those of us in Alabama who have partisan elections of judges look at Tennessee with a great deal […]

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Aug 27 2009

People Are Talking About Merit Selection

Dialogue and debate are critical when  important decisions are at stake.  That’s why it’s heartening to learn that people are talking about Merit Selection in different forums in several states.  This includes Pennsylvania, where the Courts Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will soon be holding hearings on Merit Selection. But Pennsylvania is not alone.  […]

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Aug 24 2009

Merit Selection Hearing Update

We reported this morning that the Courts Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will be holding hearings on Merit Selection.  We have just learned that due to the ongoing work on the budget, the Philadelphia hearing (initially scheduled for September 2) will be postponed until October.  At this time, the Pittsburgh hearing is still scheduled […]

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Aug 24 2009

Merit Selection On the Agenda in Pennsylvania

We are pleased to report that the Subcommittee on Courts of the House Judiciary Committee will be holding two hearings on the pending legislation to amend the constitution to implement Merit Selection for the appellate courts.  We thank Representative Don Walko, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Courts, for scheduling hearings in Pennsylvania and giving the […]

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Aug 20 2009

A Closer Look at Citizens United

Published by under Judges,News

We recently reported that PMC joined Justice At Stake and 19 other partners in filing an amicus brief in the Citizens United case.  As we noted, this campaign finance case likely will have important implications for the future of judicial elections.  This issue — particularly the poisonous influence of money in judicial elections — was […]

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Aug 18 2009

North Carolina Judge: No Money for Me

The Star News of Wilmington, North Carolina reports that Superior Court (trial level court in North Carolina) Judge Jay Hockenbury will run for reelection next year but will not accept campaign contributions: The judge, a 61-year-old Republican in a mostly Democratic district, said contributions from attorneys, developers or others with special interests could give the […]

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Aug 17 2009

The Money is “Corrosive”

Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer spoke out strongly against the poisonous influence of money in judicial elections during a recent address to the Columbus Metropolitan Club.  Dispatch Politics, a division of the Columbus Dispatch, reports that Chief Justice Moyer urged: “‘We must reduce the role of fundraising in judicial campaigns . . . It’s corrosive.’” […]

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Aug 13 2009

Some Strong Words for the Pennsylvania Judicial System

Paul Capenter of the Allentown Morning Call devoted yesterday’s column to a recap of the judicial scandals in Luzerne County.  Carpenter has strong words for the Pennsylvania judicial system and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in particular: The appellate system is a comedy routine over which presides the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which, among its other scandals, […]

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Aug 11 2009

“What Should be Unacceptable is the Election of Judges”

Published by under Judges,Opinion

Former federal judge H. Lee Sarokin offers a thought-provoking blog post on the Huffington Post entitled, “When Does a Campaign Contribution Become a Bribe?”  Judge Sarokin opens with this striking image: Can you imagine a lawyer or litigant walking up to the bench in the middle of a trial and handing the judge a check […]

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Aug 10 2009

“A System of IOUs”

Attorney Peter Vaira’s op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer details recent troubles plaguing Pennsylvania’s court system and offers some thoughts on causation: Is this Huey Long’s Louisiana? What is behind these events? Part of the answer is Pennsylvania’s county government system. Each county has its own courts, its own court rules, and often its own unwritten […]

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