Archive for the 'Site Info' Category

Jun 18 2008

Support Merit Selection of Appellate Judges In Pennsylvania

Published by under Merit Selection,Site Info

JudgesOnMerit.org is a project of Pennsylvanians For Modern Courts and PMCAction. We believe that Merit Selection is a better way to choose Pennsylvania’s appellate judges.

Merit Selection provides pathways to the appellate bench for candidates of diverse backgrounds who are experienced lawyers and jurists.  Qualifications and skills are the key factors in determining who reaches the appellate bench in a Merit Selection system.

Merit Selection removes campaign donations from the judicial selection process, allowing appellate judges to be chosen based on their qualifications and experience. By getting judges out of the fundraising business, Merit Selection promises appellate courts free from the perception of potential bias toward campaign contributors.

If you’d like to add your name or organization to the growing list of supporters of Merit Selection in Pennsylvania, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out & return the Supporter Form, or contact us at info@pmcaction.org.

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Apr 22 2008

Missouri House Protects Judicial Selection From Partisan Politics

On April 17th, the Missouri state House rejected an effort to radically revise the state’s “Missouri Plan,” which has served as a model for Merit Selection of judges in 30 other states. Proposed changes to the plan would have eliminated the nonpartisan nomination commission, and replaced it with a system controlled entirely by the governor and state legislators.

A broad coalition of community groups, lead by Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts, made it clear to the legislature that the voters of Missouri didn’t want to politicize judicial selection. The state House clearly got the message, and decisively defeated the proposed changes.

The vote caps the most recent skirmish in a long fight to protect Missouri’s Merit Selection system from efforts to make its process more political. We’re glad that the people and legislators of Missouri recognize that nonpartisan, nonpolitical judicial selection is an important part of a fair and impartial justice system.

via Gavel Grab

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Mar 26 2008

Livejournal Users

Published by under Site Info

If you’d like to get JudgesOnMerit content on your Livejournal friends page, you can add the syndicated feed here.

You can also subscribe to JudgesOnMerit updates by adding our feed to your favorite reader.

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Mar 13 2008

Welcome to JudgesOnMerit.org

Published by under Site Info

Welcome to JudgesOnMerit, a blog designed by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) and PMCAction as a place to discuss how we choose statewide appellate judges in Pennsylvania.

PMC and PMCAction are nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations working to ensure that we have fair and impartial courts that serve all Pennsylvanians. We are working to change the way we pick appellate judges in Pennsylvania.

Judges and the courts they work on have an impact on all of our lives. Even when we’re not directly involved in a case, court orders and decisions can set down rules that affect many aspects of our daily lives – from domestic disputes and custody cases, to employment issues, to car accidents, to personal injury claims. How can we be certain that we have highly qualified, fair and impartial judges making those crucial decisions?

Right now, Pennsylvania is one of only six states that elect all judges – from the neighborhood judges in the magisterial district courts to the justices on the Supreme Court – in contested partisan elections. Judges run on a party label, have campaign committees that raise money, and run against opponents.

We believe there’s a better way to pick the judges of the three statewide appellate courts – the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts. Rather than holding elections for these judgeships, we propose using a system called Merit Selection, which is a hybrid of electoral and appointive systems.

Although it’s used in various forms in different states, Merit Selection has several core components:

  • A broad-based citizen nominating commission screens and evaluates candidates and recommends a list of the most qualified candidates to the Governor;
  • The Governor nominates a candidate from the list provided by the nominating commission;
  • The nominee must be confirmed by a vote of the State Senate;
  • Following an initial term on the bench (and at regular intervals), the public determines through a yes/no nonpartisan retention election whether the judge will stay on the bench.

In a few days bills will be introduced into the Pennsylvania House and Senate seeking to amend the state constitution to adopt a Merit Selection system for the appellate courts. JudgesOnMerit will follow the progress of the legislation, provide information about the current elective process (and why we believe it’s broken), and explain why we believe Merit Selection is a better way to pick judges.

We value your opinion and want your voice to be heard. Please join in the dialogue about how we choose appellate judges in Pennsylvania.

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