Archive for November, 2010

Nov 30 2010

A Call for a Change in Judicial Conduct

Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a letter to the editor written by PMC’s executive director and deputy director. The letter came in response to an article describing the fact that judges in Pennsylvania legally can, and do, accept gifts from lawyers and businesses that might later appear in court. The rules allow the acceptance of […]

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Nov 30 2010

The Role of Retention Elections

Yesterday the Legal Intelligencer published an editorial written by PMC about retention elections. Executive director Lynn Marks and deputy director Shira Goodman discuss the difficulties raised for retention elections by the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court Justices, as well as the appropriate role for retention elections going forward.  Despite the money and partisan campaigning […]

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Nov 24 2010

Newspapers Call for a Gift Ban

Published by under Judges,Opinion

Editorials in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Patriot-News, and Philadelphia Inquirer criticize Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille for accepting expensive gifts and call for a change to the court’s rules. Under the current rules, created by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, trial and appellate judges may accept gifts as long as gifts valued over $250 […]

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Nov 22 2010

Expensive Gifts Create the Appearance of Bias on the Court

Published by under Judges

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer reveals that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille is accepting gifts and trips from lawyers and businessmen. Although these gifts are disclosed in accordance with court rules, this practice reveals a disturbing truth about the courts in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that it alone can […]

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Nov 19 2010

Talking (and Yelling) About Judicial Selection Reform in Minnesota

Over at, Eric Black offers a review of a forum held yesterday on whether to change Minnesota’s judicial selection system from elections to Merit Selection.  Black notes that the forum got a little heated as the participants offered their views: how to get your ex back That was the topic of a lively panel […]

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Nov 17 2010

Judges in Montana Support Merit Selection

An article in the Billings Gazette announces that a retired Montana Supreme Court chief justice believes that the state should move to a merit selection system in order to ensure fair and impartial courts. At a public forum entitled “Selecting Montana Judges: Protecting Impartiality, Ensuring Accountability and Preserving Public Trust” retired Chief Justice Karla Gray […]

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Nov 12 2010

Merit Selection Works

It’s no secret that last week’s judicial elections had some shocking results. Three Iowa Supreme Court justices failed to win retention elections, due entirely to a  ” vote no ”  campaign based on their votes in a unanimous decision upholding the right to gay marriage.  An Illinois Supreme Court justice won retention in a hard-fought, expensive campaign related to […]

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Nov 11 2010

"A Terrible Way of Choosing Judges"

A column in Time Magazine makes the case for getting rid of judicial elections. Author Adam Cohen, looking at the recent retention elections in Iowa, observes “elections are a terrible way of choosing judges — whether the decision is putting them in office or removing them.”  Cohen prefers the federal system of presidential appointment, Senate […]

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Nov 10 2010

When Justice is a Business

In an article appearing on, Katherine A. Helm takes an interesting approach to examining state judicial selection processes by doing so in the context of the United States Supreme Court and a new John Grisham novel. forex trading online Helm looks at U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have divided along the party lines of […]

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Nov 08 2010

Free the Judges

In the wake of the 2010 election season, the Birmingham News editorial board criticizes the practice of electing judges in Alabama. The editorial uses as an example a particularly ugly race for a seat on a circuit court. enchères en ligne Describing the nasty tones that both campaigns utilized, the editorial comes to the conclusion […]

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