Archive for the tag 'politics'

Jun 22 2012

Should the Courthouse Doors be Open to the Highest Bidder?

Published by under Merit Selection

An article in the Columbia Daily Tribune discusses the struggle to retain Missouri’s current merit selection system.  Missouri has had a merit selection system since 1940.  Recently, the general assembly passed a bill that could change this system, pending voter approval.  Under the proposed system the governor would have more influence over selecting nominating commission […]

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Sep 09 2011

Wisconsin Ready for a Change…to Merit Selection

The recent events in Wisconsin have brought to a head growing concerns about the independence and integrity of the Wisconsin judiciary. The latest proponent of change? Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. According to a Wisconsin State Journal editorial, Abrahamson “indicated in a memo to her colleagues this week that she wants her Wisconsin Supreme Court to […]

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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 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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Jul 15 2011

Something We Should Do in the Meantime

A Times-Tribune editorial asserts that although merit selection is the best way to select judges, strict disclosure requirements and clear recusal rules are necessary in the meantime. The author remembers the state Supreme Court race of 2009 in which politics played a central role. During the campaign, there was much concern that Democratic or Republican […]

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Apr 29 2011

Party Politics Mar Ohio Judicial Primary

In Miamisburg, Ohio, the race to replace retiring municipal Judge Robert Messham is getting ugly. Partisan bickering and accusations of misconduct are making headlines. The twist? The candidates are both on the same side, at least politically. Candidates Robert Rettich and John Kolberg are locked in an increasingly messy squabble over the Republican nomination. The Dayton Daily News explains […]

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Mar 01 2011

Campaign Strategies For Judicial Elections

As we make our cheap cigarettes case for reforming the way Pennsylvania selects its appellate judges, we’ve consistently tried to explain the things that (should) make judges different from politicians. Legislative and executive positions are political by design. Holders of those offices are elected in partisan contests, running on a political platform, with clearly defined […]

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Feb 03 2011

Judicial Elections Threaten Judicial Independence

In the most recent edition of the Duquesne Law Review, Pennsylvanians For Modern Courts makes the case that partisan election of judges “creates special challenges to the ability of judges to achieve and maintain judicial independence.” Deputy Director Shira J. Goodman, Executive Director Lynn A. Marks, and pro bono attorney David Caroline collaborated on the […]

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Jan 28 2011

Politics On the Docket in Illinois

The Supreme Court of Illinois recently ruled that former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel satisfied the somewhat unclear residency requirements for inclusion on the ballot in the race for Mayor of Chicago. In covering the court’s deliberations on the question, the Chicago Tribune points out the inherent contradiction of an impartial judiciary that’s […]

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Jan 25 2011

Judicial Politics on The National Stage

One reason why we advocate for a change in the way Pennsylvania selects its appellate court judges is to relieve some of the political pressure on judges and justices. The duties of judges distinguish them from officials in executive or legislative positions. Politicians are supposed to act on behalf of their constituents, and are expected to […]

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