Archive for February, 2010

Feb 25 2010

JSPAN Endorses Merit Selection Plan for Pennsylvania Appellate Judges

Published by under Merit Selection

The Jewish Social Policy Action Network (JSPAN) announced yesterday that it is officially endorsing a change to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would provide for merit selection of appellate judges in the commonwealth. The full text of the resolution is below: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ JEWISH SOCIAL POLICY ACTION NETWORK RESOLUTION ON MERIT SELECTION OF JUDGES Pennsylvania is one of […]

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Feb 24 2010

Electing Judges is “Fishy”

Published by under Merit Selection

Dan Hull over at What About Paris offers some interesting thoughts on why states should give up on electing judges and make the switch to Merit Selection. The bottom line: Judges should not have “constituents,” i.e. law firms, and their clients, who make campaign contributions. Right now, in most American states, they do. And there […]

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Feb 22 2010

Bill Moyers Journal spotlights Judicial Elections, Pennsylvania

The problems with Pennsylvania’s judicial elections took a national spotlight this week. The Friday night primetime PBS news show “Bill Moyers Journal” was devoted this past week to the question we’ve been asking for a long time: How would you feel if you were in court and knew that the opposing lawyer [or party] had […]

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Feb 18 2010

Demise of Judicial Elections and Lessons from the Lonestar State

Published by under Merit Selection

Gavel Grab reported today on a story out of Texas predicting an end to judicial elections in the Lonestar state. Writing for the Texas Tribune, guest columnist David Schenck suggests that a recent trio of U.S. Supreme Court rulings undermine the perceived legitimacy of judicial elections: Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002): First Amendment […]

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Feb 17 2010

What Wisconsin can learn from Pennsylvania

Wisconsin can learn the perils of partisanship in judicial elections from PA. Like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin still elects its appellate judges. Unlike the Keystone State, however, judicial candidates in Wisconsin do not run in partisan elections, that is, there is no “(R)” or “(D)” next to candidates’ names on ballots. This is an important distinction. PA […]

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Feb 15 2010

Take the Money and Run…for the PA Supreme Court

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection

The amount of money spent on last year’s state Supreme Court election is staggering. With at least $4.7 million raised, our own deputy director Shira Goodman noted the race to be the most expensive in history on a per-seat basis. Today’s PA Law Weekly (subscription required) takes a look at exactly where all that money […]

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Feb 12 2010

Judges or Politicians — A Case of Mistaken Identity?

An editorial in the Washington Post makes some very good points about the trouble with electing judges.  Focused on the effort to expand Merit Selection to more judges in Maryland, the editorial is good reading for folks in any state where judges are elected — like here in Pennsylvania. Elections, campaign contributions and the inevitable […]

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Feb 09 2010

Governor: “The time has clearly come. . .”

Governor Rendell just finished delivering his 2010-2011 budget address before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. In discussing his reform priorities, the Governor said: [O]ur courts are faced with a serious credibility crisis. After all that has recently occurred, the time has clearly come to move a merit selection amendment through both chambers because it will have […]

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Feb 05 2010

Money From Lawyers Floods Court System

Published by under Judges,Merit Selection

The Wednesday front page of the Wall Street Journal featured a story on plaintiffs’ law firms making campaign contributions to political candidates with the intent of securing post-election government business. Here’s how it works: firms (including certain PA firms) give large amounts of money to state and local political candidates. If elected, those public officials […]

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Feb 04 2010

A Clear Invitation to Judicial Reform

In an editorial in the Times Union (upstate New York), Abbe Gluck and Victor Kovner, members of the Board of New York’s Fund for Modern Courts argue that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United should cause states to seriously consider replacing judicial elections with Merit Selection.  They write that opening the doors to […]

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