Aug 27 2009
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. In West Virginia, the Independent Commission on Judicial Reform appointed by Governor Joe Manchin is hosting three public hearings, including one focused on Merit Selection. As the West Virginia Record reports, Governor Manchin responded favorably to the announcement of the hearings:
Our judicial system is too important, not to act without listening to public concerns. . . . I thank the commission’s members for taking time out of their daily schedules to listen to West Virginians’ suggestions and ideas.
Texans, too, are talking about Merit Selection. As reported in an op-ed in the Lake County Sun, the Caperton decision is renewing attention to the problems inherent in electing judges:
[Former Chief Justice] Phillips said the recent Supreme Court ruling should begin anew a national debate on how judges are chosen. [Chief Justice] Jefferson’s view was that the decision challenged Texans to do more to eliminate the perception that cash campaign contributions influence court decisions.
Op-ed author Willis Webb urges “Let the debate begin. . . again.”
We are looking forward to productive dialogue and debate in Pennsylvania. The most important thing is to provide the opportunity for the public to weigh in on the critical question of how we select our appellate judges.Tags: Chief Justice Jefferson, Chief Justice Phillips, Courts Subcommitee of House Judiciary Committee, Governor Joe Manchin, Lake County Sun, Merit Selection, Texas, West Virginia, West Virginia Record, Willis Webb