What is your preferred method of judicial selection?

  • Partisan election
  • Non-partisan election
  • Presidential/Gubernatorial selection with Senate confirmation (i.e. current Federal method)
  • Merit selection (i.e. Missouri system)

0 voters

This is a public poll (i.e. users can see how each person voted).

What is your preferred method of judicial selection.

There are four primary methods of selecting Judges.

Partisan elections are used in in Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere. Just as it says, candidates run under a party label and may have to compete in a a partisan primary.

Non-partisan elections are used for trial judges in Florida and elsewhere. Candidates run without partisan labels. If more than two candidates are running, a primary may be used, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election.

Presidential/Gubernatorial selection with Senate confirmation. is used at the federal level and in a number of States.

Merit selection is used in a number of States, including for appellate level judges in Florida. Typically, a bipartisan panel evaluates candidates on a number of criteria and presents typically about 3 candidates to the Governor, who then makes the final choice.

My own opinion in a subsequent post.

I didn’t read the choices fully before I voted. Mea Culpa.

I have no experience with merit selection. It sounds like a good idea to me. I might have voted differently.

But I’ll take appointment/confirmation over elected judges.

Merit based selections are the easy choice.

A judge should absolutely never run for election.

I bring this subject up because, at the State level, it is becoming a major concern.

The main culprit is the rapidly increasing amounts of money flowing into judicial elections, both partisan and non-partisan.

And it is not necessarily conservative vs. liberal funding concerns. Much of the money flowing in is from the Plaintiff’s attorney lobby, who dearly want to create a Plaintiff friendly bench. In some States (referred to colloquially as judicial hellholes) they have succeeded. Other money not related to conservative vs liberal issues also flows into judicial races.

Florida reached its tipping point in the early and mid 1970’s, when a major Supreme Court scandal (5 of 7 Justices removed from the court) led to appellate selection changing from elections to Merit selection.

Other States, Pennsylvania being a major example, are rife with corruption from bottom to top, with scandals engulfing our Supreme Court at one point. We are also home of the infamous Kids for Cash scandal. But many judges in this State have fallen to scandal, including the wiping out of an entire court in Philadelphia County.

I strongly oppose elections. If they must happen, they should at least be non-partisan and should focus on the qualifications of each candidate, not political concerns.

Executive appointment with Senate confirmation is superior, but not ideal by any means. The obvious flaw is that a hostile Senate can bog down the process, leaving the judiciary badly understaffed, as is the current case in the Federal system.

I believe the best method is merit selection, but it needs to be properly implemented, because merit selection can be hijacked if not properly implemented.

Selection commissions should be balanced so that no political party has the upper hand on any commission. A super-majority requirement, at least 3/5th’s, would ensure that candidates would need bipartisan support to gain nomination. I believe that there needs to be a restriction on the number of Plaintiff’s attorneys permitted on commissions, no more than 25% at the most. I also believe that at least 25% of the commissions should be educated lay people (i.e. non-attorney).

Basically, the commissions should be balanced so that no particular interest has a controlling majority on the commission.

But I believe merit selection is by far the best method.

Sure, selection based on a panel is probably better. Merit based? That’s a little bit leading. How about merit based elections by political parties. Sounds better than just saying partisan elections, doesn’t it? The trick is to keep it merit based.

Once appointed, I would favor running for re election not based on party, though. If someone is way out of touch with the citizens he is judging, they should have a chance to cancel . If the original appontment was done correctly, that shoujldn’t happen often.

I believe an unbiased panel is impossible. Every legal scholar has a bias whether he will admit it or not. I would rather leave the selection to a president and a senate who are elected by the people who knew their biases and elected them anyway.

The best method would vary with the level of the court.
I would think that a system like elect lower level judges, forming a pool from which merit selection would choose the next level and the top level be an appoint and confirm process.

Dang hit the wrong button.

After voting I noticed Big Al voted the same way I did. May have to rethink my vote! :wink:

Trial by combat. With lirpas. To the death.

Judges should never be selected by elections. Who the hell reads candidates’ court decisions before they vote, anyway?

The idea is that the panels would be selected in such a method and would operate in such a way that no particular bias would have the upper hand. Obviously, the individual commission members would have their biases, but in the end, there would be enough variety of points of view to allow the body to come to an unbiased result.

I would also note that I am primarily concerned with judicial reform in the States. At the Federal level, its is going to pretty much stay the way it is, due to the difficultly of passing a Constitutional Amendment. I am primarily looking at State level reform.

I will tell you the ugly truth in Florida, which has been verified by research.

In judicial elections, candidates are listed on the ballot in alphabetical order. The first listed candidate has the decided advantage and the farther back in the alphabet you go, the less chance you have at victory.

Yes, many voters simply “Christmas tree” the judicial races.

I can one-up that! In NY, judges on the ballot have their political affiliation listed right next to their names? What the hell does being a D or an R have to do with being an impartial judge!?