Archive for August, 2011

Aug 31 2011

Minnesota State Representatives Debate on Judicial Selection Reform

In a blog entry, Shannon Fiecke of the Shakopee Valley News reports on the recent debate between Minnesota State Representatives Mike Beard and Glenn Gruenhagen on judicial selection reform. “I can’t think of many [topics] more relevant to maintaining a free and just society than how we select and re-elect judges,” Feicke comments. And while […]

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Aug 30 2011

“We’re Just Judges”

The Rome News-Tribune reports that two members of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judges Stephen Louis A. Dillard and Judge Keith R. Blackwell, will be running for election in 2012. Both judges were appointed by former Governor Sonny Perdue last November. However, the judges clarify that the political party of their appointing governor does not […]

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Aug 25 2011

Philadelphia Inquirer Interviews PMC’s Lynn Marks on Merit Selection

Following the announcement that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will allow some of its oral arguments to be televised, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Amy Worden interviewed Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Executive Director Lynn Marks about the need for further reform of the Pennsylvania courts generally and the judicial selection system specifically. Marks highlighted the problems inherent in […]

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Aug 23 2011

Justice Does Not Have a Price

Published by under Judicial Elections

Indiana’s IndyChannel.com reports that a judicial campaign fundraising flier appears to equate financial donations with favorable rulings. The flier advertises an event to support the re-election of Marion Superior Court Judge Becky Pierson-Treacy. Among the “suggested contributions,” are “$150 ‘Sustained’”; “250 ‘Affirmed’”; “500 ‘So Ordered’”; and “$1,000 ‘Favorable Ruling’”. According to former Judge Gary Miller […]

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Aug 18 2011

An Important Step

The Chaska (MN) Herald today announced a public debate between two state leaders about whether to change the way judges are selected.  State Representatives Mike Beard and State Senator Julianne Ortman, both Republicans, have different views on the subject.  Beard, who favors replacing elections with an appointment and retention election system, argues “Minnesotans take their […]

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Aug 16 2011

Recusal Issue with a Twist

Here’s a recusal question related to judicial elections, but one with a twist. What happens when a sitting judge or justice pays or has paid a lawyer or law firm for help in an election case and that lawyer or firm appears before the judge? That’s the issue facing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. […]

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Aug 11 2011

ABA adopts new guidelines on judicial recusal

Published by under Merit Selection

The ABA has adopted new guidelines urging states to reform their procedural rules on judicial qualification to reduce the influence of election spending in the courtroom. The ABA’s suggestions include new disclosure requirements for both direct & indirect spending on judicial races and a swift appeals process for recusal motions. “No one should be a […]

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Aug 08 2011

Tennessee lawyers, business organizations agree: Keep Merit Selection!

Published by under Merit Selection

When it comes to judicial elections, trial lawyers and big business are almost always on opposite sides. In Tennessee, though, the two groups are uniting to oppose a shift away from merit selection for the state’s high court. Tennessee’s constitution mandates that state judges “shall be elected by the qualified voters of this state.” While the state Supreme Court […]

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Aug 05 2011

Vanzetta Penn McPherson Speaks Out in Favor of Merit

Published by under Judges,Opinion

In a recent Montgomery Advertiser editorial, Retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Vanzetta Penn McPherson advocates a transition from judicial elections to Merit Selection of judges. Her critique of judicial elections follows the resignation of Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb. McPherson seconds Cobb’s concern that partisan elections of judges “perpetuate the public perception that judges are […]

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Aug 02 2011

Birmingham News urges Alabama to enforce law limiting judicial campaign contributions, consider merit selection

Published by under Merit Selection

Saturday’s edition of the Birmingham News featured an editorial urging Alabama to enforce its sixteen-year-old law regulating judicial campaign contributions. The law requires that judges recuse themselves from cases in which a party or their lawyer donated $2000 or more to the judge’s campaign ($4000 for appellate judges). However, the law has not been enforced […]

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