Feb 07 2013
According to an article in Region’s Business (Philadelphia Edition), a recent bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Anthony H. Williams (D-Philadelphia) and Richard Alloway (R-Franklin) seeks to end judicial elections and implement merit selection.
The proposed bill would replace elections with a commission of
fifteen members. The commission would choose the most qualified candidates from a pool of applicants, and would then forward that list to the governor. Following Senate confirmation, the judge would take her seat with Pennsylvanian’s more comfortably assured that if they come before the bench, they will come before the most qualified judges.
This is change Pennsylvania needs.
When the courts gain more notoriety than the notorious cases they here, it becomes time for real change.
Justice Orie Melvin’s ongoing trial, for example, is a direct reflection of the inherent problems of judicial election. The election system forces judges to campaign, and to assume all of the obstacles that come with it.
Among the problems raised through campaigning, Judges are forced to seek financing through donors that may eventually come before them, giving an appearance of potential impropriety or impartiality.
But Pennsylvanians are making moves to halt these inherent problems via legislative action to implement a merit selection system of judicial selection.
Merit selection would ensure
that the most qualified candidates take a seat at the bench, rather than those most schooled in electioneering.