May 16 2012
In a post on the New York Times Editorial Page Editor’s Blog, Andrew Rosenthal asserts:
Elections are the worst way to select judges. The process leaves judges beholden to party bosses, wealthy donors, and the whims of the very, very few people who actually bother to vote.
Rosenthal focuses on Michigan and the recent report of its Judicial Selection Task Force. He notes the Task Force’s recommendations to make elections truly nonpartisan and require disclosure of all election expenditures and donations. But he opines that:
These are fine, civic-minded ideas, but they’re just band-aids. The best way to fix the system is to change it—to replace elections with gubernatorial appointments based on merit. A bipartisan nominating commission would screen candidates according to defined legal standards.
We agree that elections are not the right way to select judges. Merit Selection is designed to bring the most qualified, fair and impartial judges to the bench, and it does so through a process that gets those future judges out of the fundraising business. We hope the Pennsylvania legislature will give Pennsylvanians the opportunity to decide in a referendum election whether there is a better way to select our appellate court judges. Let the House Judiciary Committee know you want the opportunity to decide.Tags: Andrew Rosenthal, House Judiciary Committee, judicial elections, Merit Selection, Michigan, New York Times, Pennsylvania