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Obama nominates Meyer for federal judge in Conn.

June 7, 2013 :: New York News Day/AP
Quinnipiac University law professor Jeffrey Meyer, a former federal prosecutor who helped investigate the United Nations' oil-for-food program scandal in Iraq, was nominated Friday by President Barack Obama to serve as a federal judge. Meyer has taught at Quinnipiac's School of Law in Hamden since 2006 and is a visiting...

Senate Republicans Divided On Moving Obama's D.C. Circuit Nominees

June 7, 2013 :: Huffington Post
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been signaling he may pick a fight on filibuster reform this summer, and a major litmus test will be whether Republicans block a handful of President Barack Obama's key nominees in the coming weeks. But for now, Republicans can't even agree on how...

Judicial Picks Set the Stage for a Battle in the Senate

June 4, 2013 :: New York Times
President Obama s announcement of three nominees to an important federal appeals court on Tuesday is adding fuel to a larger fight on Capitol Hill over whether the minority party in the Senate has too much power to thwart a president s agenda.

Obama sets stage for Senate battle over judicial nominees

June 4, 2013 :: Reuters
Setting the stage for a political showdown with Senate Republicans, President Barack Obama named three lawyers on Tuesday to serve on a Washington federal appeals court often called the nation's second-most important court.

With GOP ready to fight, Obama to nominate three judges

June 3, 2013 :: CBS News
President Obama plans to name three nominees to the influential federal appeals court in Washington, a White House official said Monday, setting up a Senate battle with Republicans who say the court that issues opinions with nationwide impact doesn't need more judges.

Obama Plans 3 Nominations for Key Court

May 27, 2013 :: New York Times
President Obama will soon accelerate his efforts to put a lasting imprint on the country s judiciary by simultaneously nominating three judges to an important federal court, a move that is certain to unleash fierce Republican opposition and could rekindle a broader partisan struggle over Senate rules.

ri Srinivasan goes from basketball court to appeals court

May 26, 2013 :: Washington Post
Sri Srinivasan scores big on every court. As a standout basketball guard for Lawrence High School in Kansas, Class of 1985, Srinivasan could both dish and shoot. As a lawyer, he s argued more than 20 cases before the Supreme Court. And as a new, unanimously confirmed appellate judge, he...

Obama nominates 2 to open Montana judgeships

May 23, 2013 :: Houston Chronicle/AP
President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated a state Supreme Court justice and a Billings district judge to fill two open Montana judgeships, and U.S. Sen. Max Baucus pledged to quickly shepherd their confirmations through his chamber.


AZ high court nixes judicial appointment process change

September 17, 2013 :: Maricopa Monitor/Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX Saying legislators acted unconstitutionally, the Arizona Supreme Court on Friday voided a measure designed to give Gov. Jan Brewer and her successors more choices when selecting judges.

House panel OKs raising number of candidates for judge openings

February 21, 2013 :: Arizona Daily Star
PHOENIX - State lawmakers launched what could be considered an end-run of last year's voter rejection of a change in how judges are selected. On a 6-1 margin Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would require the governor be given at least five names from which to pick...


Diversity on the bench?

September 22, 2013 :: Ocala StarBanner
Judge Edwards-Stephens' impending retirement will leave the 5th Circuit with a few women but no minorities holding a gavel.

League of Women Voters says House bill would undermine judicial merit selection process

March 28, 2013 ::
In a call with media, the League of Women Voters of Florida alerted Floridians to a legislative proposal it says would further weaken the firewall intended to shield the judicial branch from political influence. According to the League, every session since 2011 some form of legislation has surfaced that seeks...

Florida House Democrats decry 'court stacking' motives in judicial nominating commission bill

February 20, 2013 :: News Service of Florida
Under Florida law, when the governor chooses a judge to fill a vacancy on the circuit or county bench, one of the district courts of appeal or the Supreme Court, he chooses from a list sent to him by a judicial nominating commission.


Georgia bill would create a merit-selection style panel for interim vacancies; gives 18 of 23 seats

January 11, 2013 :: Gavel to Gavel
Yesterday I noted that the Virginia Senate is considering changing, but not eliminating, the power of that state s governor with respect to some interim appointments. Georgia s HB 30 of 2013 would take it one step further and set up a merit-selection style commission for interim appellate vacancies, but...


List of 6 Maui Judicial Nominees Released

September 17, 2013 :: Maui Now
The Hawai?i Judiciary today released a list of six nominees identified by the Judicial Selection Commission to be considered for the Maui vacancy created by the resignation of former district judge Mimi DesJardins.


Our View: Choosing merit

February 15, 2013 :: Lake County New-Sun
This page long has called for merit selection of judges and the lamentable case of Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Brim is a poster girl for choosing Illinois judiciary based on merit, not political party. Brim, who has been on the bench since 1994 despite suffering from a serious...


Debate swells over Lake judicial selection

September 24, 2013 ::
CROWN POINT | A St. John lawyer is challenging how Lake County picks its judges just as Gov. Mike Pence contemplates who he will name as the newest member of the county's judiciary.

Lake Superior Court judges opt out of filling vacancy

June 7, 2013 :: Northwest Indiana Times
No eligible Lake Superior Court judge has elected to transfer to the Criminal Court bench held by Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr., who will move to the Juvenile Court bench. Stefaniak last week announced he will replace former Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura, whom Gov. Mike Pence named director of...

EDITORIAL: Merit selection law merits clarification

June 4, 2013 :: Northwest Indiana Times
Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak's announcement Friday he will become the new Lake Juvenile Court judge puts a person in that position who has previously gone through the merit selection process. Stefaniak's announcement ends months of controversy surrounding the replacement of Mary Beth Bonaventura, who left in March to...

Dispute over Lake County juvenile court judge ends with selection of judge for spot

June 1, 2013 :: The Republic
A months-long dispute over Lake County's next juvenile court judge has ended with the selection of Lake Criminal Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak for the post.

Indiana Supreme Court blocks Lake judge's transfer

May 19, 2013 :: The Times Online
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled a Lake County judge cannot transfer to a juvenile court because he didn't go through merit selection when he joined the bench. Lake Superior Court Judge Nicholas Schiralli had planned to transfer into the vacated Lake Juvenile Court position based on seniority...

Legislators messing with merit selection

April 3, 2013 :: The South Bend Tribune
Indiana's General Assembly members occasionally just can't leave a good thing be. St. Joseph County's merit selection process for Superior Court judges is a case in point. State Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, on Monday offered a last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 518 that proposed to replace the current merit system...

High court names Lake Juvenile Court caretaker

March 22, 2013 ::
CROWN POINT | A veteran Northwest Indiana judge will serve as caretaker of the Lake juvenile justice complex, while the rest of the county's judiciary does battle for permanent control of that court. The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday named Senior Judge Thomas W. Webber Sr. to serve as the...

Legislation on judicial nominating commission members moves to House

February 15, 2013 :: The Indiana Lawyer
A bill that would require the governor to appoint nonattorney members to the Judicial Nominating Commission from a list of legislator-approved candidates passed the Senate 46-2 Thursday. Sen. Brent Steele s legislation, Senate Bill 103, requires that the governor choose one nonattorney candidate from a list submitted by the president...



Hensley: Swearing-in of Brownback court pick delayed to avoid retention vote

September 24, 2013 :: Topeka Capital-Journal/AP
Governor Sam Brownback s chief spokeswoman said Tuesday that the Kansas Senate s top Democrat has no grounds to suggest the swearing-in of Brownback s chief counsel as a state appeals judge is being delayed to avoid a November 2014 statewide vote on whether the appointee stays on the bench.

Gov. fills vacancy on trial court in SE Kansas

September 20, 2013 :: News Channel 10/AP
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Gov. Sam Brownback has appointed a longtime southeast Kansas attorney to a district court judgeship. Brownback's office announced Thursday that he had named Kurtis Loy, of Pittsburg, to the bench in the 11th Judicial District. He will fill a vacancy caused by a retirement.

Brownback praises new judicial selection law

September 19, 2013 :: Seattle Post Intelligencer/AP
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) Gov. Sam Brownback told members of a conservative legal organization Thursday that recent changes in how state Court of Appeals judges are chosen had led to a more Democratic process, and afterward he said he would support similar changes for the Kansas Supreme Court.

Political attacks on court plan imperil justice in Kansas

May 28, 2013 :: Kansas City Star
For more than a half century the Kansas nonpartisan court plan has stood as one of the state s most responsible and respected institutions. Read more here: Judges selected under the plan have earned the reputation of ruling impartially and sticking closely to the law and evidence. Importantly, the...

Editorial: Judicial joust

May 22, 2013 :: The Lawrence Journal-World
The good news is that it s unlikely the Kansas Legislature will take further action during its current session to alter the powers or selection process for the Kansas Supreme Court. However, three bills introduced by the House Federal and State Affairs Committee last week almost guarantee a heated ideological...

Analysis: Bigger push on Kan. courts may be coming Read more:

May 19, 2013 :: Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) A prominent conservative Kansas legislator has launched what could become the most aggressive campaign to date to rein in the state Supreme Court after a proposal failed that would have changed how its justices are selected. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lance Kinzer wants to make the state's...

Kan. court plan founders; backer faces allegation

May 14, 2013 :: The Associated Press
TOPEKA, Kan. -- A plan to change how Kansas fills vacancies on its two highest courts foundered Tuesday when the Kansas Bar Association's board decided to oppose it. Meanwhile, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss accused Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Jeff King, a key legislative backer of the proposal,...

Chief justice denounces pay-to-play reform measure

May 14, 2013 :: The Topeka Capital Journal
The Kansas Supreme Court's chief justice sent a letter to the state's judges Tuesday condemning as distasteful and unacceptable an influential senator's attempt to make courts funding contingent upon judicial groups getting behind a proposal to change the way Supreme Court justices are selected. Chief Justice Lawton Nuss wrote that...

New Senate plan for Kansas judiciary emerges

May 14, 2013 :: The Associated Press
TOPEKA Legislators who believe the Kansas Senate should have the power to confirm appellate court judges, including Supreme Court justices, have a new plan that they hope will get approved before lawmakers adjourn this year, an influential senator involved in drafting the measure said Monday. Many legislators, particularly conservative Republicans,...

Kansas judicial selection issue part of national trend

May 11, 2013 :: The Associated Press
Renewed legislative efforts to change the way Kansas selects members for its highest courts are part of a recent wave of modifications sought nationwide to alter the composition of the state s judicial branch. Despite resistance this legislative session against altering the system, supporters of the idea said Friday momentum...

Kansas lawmakers shift plan to change judge selections Read more here:

March 28, 2013 :: The Kansas City Star
TOPEKA Lawmakers are trying out an easier way than a constitutional amendment to change how judges are picked in Kansas. The Kansas House on Thursday tentatively agreed to a bill giving the governor the ability to select judges for the state Court of Appeals with Senate confirmation. It s a...

Brownback signs legislation to reform judicial selection

March 27, 2013 :: The Topeka Capital Journal
Gov. Sam Brownback signed legislation Wednesday granting Kansas governors greater influence over selection of judges to serve on the Kansas Court of Appeals. Brownback said adoption of the federal model of executive appointment and Senate confirmation would move Kansas away from a flawed system whereby a nominating commission dominated by...

Brownback to sign judicial selection bill

March 26, 2013 :: The Topeka Capital Journal
Gov. Sam Brownback plans to sign a bill Wednesday amending state law to grant governors more authority over appointment of judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals. Brownback, a Topeka Republican, made removal of the state's judicial nominating commission a priority of the 2013 session. The current system requires a...

Kansas: Move against Merit Selection passes Senate, proceeds to House

February 1, 2013 :: Judges on Merit
Capital Journal and Wichita, Kansas Eagle. discussed the movement in the Kansas legislature to try to abandon the Merit Selection system currently in place in the state in favor of a Federal-style appointment process where the governor has far more discretion in selecting judges.

Kansas Senate Overwhelmingly Supports Judicial Selection Reform

February 1, 2013 :: the National Review
Great news out of Kansas. The Kansas senate overwhelmingly passed judicial selectionreforms on Wednesday. The constitutional amendment, required for the Kansas supreme court reforms, passed with a 28-12 vote, while the Senate Bill 8, required for the Kansas Court of Appeals reforms, passed with a 29 11 vote, with one...

GUEST COLUMN: Courts’ merit selection prevents ‘zoo’

January 30, 2013 :: The Morning Sun
As most Kansans are by now aware, Gov. Brownback and certain legislators are attempting to change the way appellate court judges are selected. The present method is termed merit selection and has existed since 1958. Under the merit selection method, all applicants are thoroughly interviewed and vetted by a nonpartisan...

Senate passes overhaul of appellate court selection

January 30, 2013 :: The Capital Journal
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill and constitutional amendment Wednesday granting the governor more power in appointment of judges to the Kansas Court of Appeals and justices to the Kansas Supreme Court. Gov. Sam Brownback is the leading proponent of a reform movement to eliminate the existing system requiring a...

Kansas GOP's push to change judicial selection meets resistance

January 27, 2013 :: The Associated Press
Conservative Republican legislators are pushing aggressively for an overhaul of how Kansas fills vacancies on its two highest courts, but they face significant obstacles in getting a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot. Some GOP lawmakers have argued for almost a decade that the current system of...

Kansas House panel endorses change in judicial selection

January 23, 2013 :: The Kansas City Star
A Kansas House committee has endorsed a proposed change in the state constitution to give the governor and legislators more power over appellate court appointments. The measure advanced Wednesday by the Judiciary Committee would allow governors to name whomever they want to fill vacancies on the state Court of Appeals...

Kan. judicial panel members criticize selection method, 1 sees bias against conservatives

January 22, 2013 :: The Republic
TOPEKA, Kansas The state's judicial nominating commission was biased against conservative candidates for the Kansas Court of Appeals and finally nominated one in an effort to appease legislators trying to change the selection process, a commission member said Tuesday. In a rare move, two commission members publicly criticized the nominating...

House member: Judicial selection poll not unbiased

January 21, 2013 :: The Topeka Capital Journal
A prominent Republican House member questions the credibility of a Washington, D.C., group whose poll on Kansas judicial selection has been held up as evidence that the current system of selecting state judges shouldn t change. Frustrated by school finance decisions in which they believe the courts have exceeded their...


Judge Watts: Only African American Up for Appeals Court

May 29, 2013 :: Afro
Among the field of applicants for the soon-to-be vacant seat on Maryland s Court of Appeals, Judge Shirley Watts stands apart she is the only African American up for consideration by the Judicial Nominating Commission, which is scheduled to meet June 20 to decide on its recommendations for Gov. Martin...


Secret money in judicial campaigns is a scandal

September 23, 2013 :: Bridge Magazine
How would you feel if you had a case in court and suddenly realized that the judge s campaign for office had been generously and secretly backed by the party opposing your lawsuit? Shocked, outraged and mad as hell is probably an understatement! Well, now for the really shocking part....


Political divide emerges on plan to overhaul Minnesota judicial elections

September 22, 2013 :: Minneapolis StarTribune
A bipartisan effort to retool how judges are elected in Minnesota is facing a fresh test as several Republican lawmakers are pulling back their support for the idea, revealing the latest partisan rift at the State Capitol.

Senate approves judicial selection amendment

February 21, 2013 :: The Leaf Chronicle

New Jersey

Standoffs over New Jersey judicial nominations could sully court's reputation

March 25, 2013 :: Philadelphia Inquirer
The New Jersey Supreme Court, once viewed as a bastion of independent, if liberal, jurisprudence, risks a sharply diminished reputation if political battles over filling its empty seats are not quickly resolved, legal experts and court-reform advocates say. The immediate issue facing the court is the maneuvering between Gov. Christie...

New York

NY Third Judicial District race has three candidates for Supreme Court seat

September 25, 2013 :: Daily Freeman
Three people have been nominated to run for one state Supreme Court judgeship in New York s seven-county Third Judicial District. Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard McNally was nominated last week by the Democratic and Independence parties; Greene County Attorney Carol Donnelly Stevens was nominated by the Republican and Conservative...

Republicans back judicial candidate

September 19, 2013 :: Albany Times Union
Republicans unanimously nominated Greene County Attorney Carol Donnelly Stevens on Wednesday for state Supreme Court as a former justice urged party members to open their wallets.

North Carolina

Judges: Public financing has been tested, works

June 9, 2013 :: Charlotte Observer
All but one of the 15 N.C. Court of Appeals judges judges who belong to both political parties have added their voices to the chorus urging lawmakers to maintain public financing of judicial elections and to keep them nonpartisan. Legislators, please listen.

Doug Clark says nonpartisan judicial elections help North Carolina

June 8, 2013 :: Winston-Salem Journal
Fourteen of the 15 judges on the N.C. Court of Appeals sent a letter to Senate leader Phil Berger recently urging him to leave the current election system alone. State courts are nonpartisan, and candidates for appellate seats can qualify for a public financing system.

Op-Ed: De Luca - Campaign public financing takes away free speech

June 6, 2013 :: Fayetteville Observer
North Carolina can restore free speech in elections by completely eliminating taxpayer welfare for politicians - better known as public financing of campaigns.

Republican legislators may undermine chief justice candidate's campaign

June 6, 2013 :: Greensbor News & Record
I mentioned yesterday that N.C. Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin has secured the endorsements of all five living former chief justices in his campaign for that seat. This probably would not happen if, today, we had partisan judicial elections.

NC appeals judges want current campaign system

June 4, 2013 :: Raleigh News & Observer
Nearly all current North Carolina's Court of Appeals members want the General Assembly to keep their elections officially nonpartisan and preserve the voluntary public financing program for appellate court candidates.

Editorial: Public funding benefits the bench

June 4, 2013 :: Salisbury Post
Before Republican legislative leaders gut North Carolina s public financing program for appellate judicial races, they might want to consider the leanings of a core part of their constituency Republican women.

Conservative Pollster: Republican Voters Favor Judicial Public Financing Program, Oppose Lawmakers W

June 3, 2013 :: North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections
A new survey by a Republican polling firm indicates widespread support for judicial public financing, a program North Carolina state legislators currently threaten to cut in the upcoming budget bill.


Chief Justice Talks Changing Judiciary Elections

September 17, 2013 ::
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor is traveling across Ohio to promote new proposals and on Tuesday, she stopped by Bryan's Place in downtown Zanesville to discuss her 8-point-plan that focuses on improving how Ohioans elect their judges.

Maureen O’Connor commentary: Let's improve how judges are selected

May 26, 2013 :: Columbus Dispatch
It would be hard to think of an area of our society that is not affected by judges and the courts. From adoptions to estates, from marriage licenses to divorce decrees, from traffic tickets to serious violent crime, judges in Ohio handle more than 1 million cases each year, and...

Richard Rogovin commentary: Retention ballot would improve election of judges

March 27, 2013 :: The Columbus Dispatch
After 45 years of practicing law, I believe that the way we elect judges has to be changed. Many voters have no idea who the candidates are until the television ads start running. That s when they start paying attention, but the information in sound bites, prominent displays of electable...


Oklahoma Senate approves judicial reform, school safety measures Read more from this Tulsa World ar

March 14, 2013 :: Tulsa World
OKLAHOMA CITY - The state Senate on Wednesday passed an array of measures involving judges and school safety. One measure, Senate Joint Resolution 21, would let voters decide to give the governor and Senate more control of the selection of judges. Applications for judicial vacancies now go to the Judicial...


Hometown appeal of judicial candidates

May 31, 2013 :: Philadelphia Inquirer
On May 21, Pennsylvanians continued their tradition of voting for statewide judicial candidates based solely on the county of residence listed for candidates on the ballot. Democrats had a choice for Superior Court between Joseph Waters, of Philadelphia, and Jack McVay, of Allegheny County. Most voters knew virtually nothing about...

Andrews pulls out of November's judicial election

May 30, 2013 :: Altonna Mirror
Dave Andrews, the Altoona attorney who won the Democratic nomination last week for the position of Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County, has decided not to run in November's general election.

Costa forms a wish list for state Supreme Court nominee Read more:

May 10, 2013 :: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
HARRISBURG Senate Democrats would consider a Pennsylvania Supreme Court nominee from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett who is nonpartisan and non-ideological and vows not to seek election to the seat in 2016, said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa. We would like to see a person who would render decisions based upon...

Our View: Merit selection for judges merits study

April 3, 2013 :: Erie-Times News
Do you recognize the names of Ronald D. Castile, Thomas G. Saylor, J. Michael Eakin, Max Baer, Debra McCloskey Todd or Seamus P. McCaffery? All six serve on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. They were elected by voters who also choose the 15 judges on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the...

Some pour cold water on idea to appoint state judges

March 31, 2013 ::
Legal observers are split on the idea of changing the way state appellate court judges are chosen. Reformers are calling for scrapping partisan elections in favor of an appointment process, but others aren't so sure. Some state lawmakers and four former governors have lined up to support the so-called merit...

Nothing could be further from the truth, and there is ample evidence that appointment-based systems

March 27, 2013 :: The Patriot News
In the last week, there's been another push to change the way Pennsylvania selects judges for the three appellate courts - Commonwealth, Superior, and Supreme -- moving from direct election to an appointment system. Proponents argue a switch would take the politics out of the system by removing the need...

Editorial | Elections taint state judiciary

March 27, 2013 :: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Sometimes, electing judges works just fine in particular, when it s to the county courts. But at the appeals-court level, that method is flawed. That s the wise opinion of four former Pennsylvania governors who want the state to switch from partisan judicial elections to appointing the state s appellate...

Replacement test for merit selection Governor to nominate interim justice on top court

March 27, 2013 :: The Times Tribune
Convicted Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's resignation this week was an act of public service in several ways. The resignation, effective May 1, spared the Legislature, the judiciary, the public and herself from the ordeal of an impeachment proceeding. It also offered an early prospect for the end of...

Merit selection would rid judicial system of campaign corruption that brought down Melvin

March 25, 2013 :: The Patriot News
A statewide court reform group applauds Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's decision to resign on May 1 and uses the justice s conviction on campaign corruption as a platform to call for merit selection of appellate court judges. Lynn Marks, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts,...

‘Merit selection’ for Pa. appellate judges? No, thank you Read more:

March 24, 2013 :: Tribune-Review
Citing state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's public-corruption conviction while advocating for a group called Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, four former governors' support for so-called merit selection of state appellate judges proves only that bad ideas know no partisan bounds. Their rationale for denying Pennsylvanians the right to choose...

Don't give up your right to elect judges

March 20, 2013 :: The Pocono Record
On Monday, three former Pennsylvania governors joined their considerable forces in a conference call aimed at ending your right to elect the state's top judges. Don't listen to them. Republicans Dick Thornburgh and Tom Ridge and Democrat Ed Rendell want the Pennsylvania governor to be able to select the judges...

Four former Pa. governors come out for judicial merit selection

March 18, 2013 :: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states where residents elect all their judges in partisan elections - a system critics say has led judicial candidates to solicit big campaign donations from lawyers and special interests who could later appear in their courts. Over the years, various legislators have...

DN Editorial: Time to put merit selection of judges on the fast track

February 22, 2013 ::
FORMER STATE Sen. Jane Orie, who is serving up to 10 years in prison, could soon be sharing a cell with two of her sisters. A jury Thursday convicted Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and their sister, Janine, of multiple felony counts for theft of services and conspiracy to...

No merit in merit selection

February 18, 2013 :: The Tribune-Review
The trial of suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin is being used to resurrect a bad idea turned down repeatedly by Pennsylvania legislators. Two state senators have introduced legislation to abolish judicial elections and replace them with a system known by its supporters as merit selection. But the...

Merit selection for statewide judicial seats long overdue

February 13, 2013 ::
The Issue: A bill introduced in the state Senate would end contested elections for state appellate judges. Our Opinion: We support such a move but believe local jurists should continue to be elected by the people they serve. Legislation introduced by Democratic State Sen. Anthony H. Williams of Philadelphia and...

Let voters elect judges

February 1, 2013 :: Pocono Record
Lawmakers who want to end judicial elections in favor of appointing judges are on the wrong track. Citizens should retain their constitutional right to vote on who gets on the bench. Injecting partisan politics and back-door shenanigans into the process won't improve it. Bill sponsor Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, claims merit...

Pennsylvania bill would change how judges are chosen

January 25, 2013 :: - The Inquirer
As jury selection began Wednesday in the corruption trial of suspended Pennsylvania Justice Joan Orie Melvin, proponents of judicial reform proposed a constitutional amendment that would end the current system of electing appellate judges and give the governor authority to appoint them. The bill, introduced by State Sen. Anthony H....

Rhode Island

R.I. Senate approves Governor Chafee's judicial picks

May 30, 2013 :: Providence Journal
The state Senate Thursday approved Governor Chafee's nominations of state court magistrates to the Superior Court and the Family Court bench. The Senate voted 34 to 0 to elevate District Court Magistrate and ex-Senate President Joseph Montalbano to Superior Court judge and Family Court Magistrate Patricia Asquith as judge in...

Common Cause RI blasts Governor Chafee's judicial picks

May 10, 2013 :: The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Common Cause Rhode Island Friday blasted Governor Chafee's judicial picks as evidence that the judicial nominating process is failing to ensure that judges are chosen on merit, not politics. He noted that successive governors have ignored the 21-day deadline for picking judges from lists provided by the...

Walsh Bill Would Require Merit Selection for Magistrates

January 17, 2013 :: Narragansett-Southkingstown Patch
Rep. Donna M. Walsh has submitted legislation to require merit selection and vetting by the Judicial Nominating Commission for magistrates in Rhode Island. Magistrates are court officers that generally preside over uncontested cases, though their duties vary from court to court. Currently, most of the 20 magistrates in Rhode Island...

South Carolina

Bill would expand lawmakers' choices for SC judges

January 25, 2013 ::
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A House panel has advanced a bill allowing the Legislature to choose South Carolina's judges from among all candidates deemed qualified for the job. The judiciary panel voted unanimously Thursday to no longer limit the Legislature to three candidates picked by a committee.

South Dakota

Bill gives lawmakers more say on judicial appointments

February 6, 2013 :: Rapid City Journal
PIERRE | The state Judicial Qualifications Commission would be expanded to nine members by adding two members who would be appointed by the Legislature s leaders under a measure that received unanimous approval Wednesday by a legislative panel. The proposal represents a compromise, according to Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg. He...


Expiring state commission wants to select judge candidates months early

June 9, 2013 :: Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee s Judicial Nominating Commission, which will cease to exist at the end of this month, is moving to play its role in naming successors to three appeals court judges who have announced they will retire more than a year from now.

Editorial: Legislature must fix mess it made for judicial branch

May 31, 2013 :: Knoxville News Sentinel
The surprise announcement that Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph M. Tipton and Court of Appeals Judge Patricia J. Cottrell will step down next year highlights one of the Legislature s failures during the past session.

Two judges decide not to seek re-election

May 28, 2013 :: The Tennessean
Court of Appeals Judge Patricia J. Cottrell and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph M. Tipton have announced they will not seek re-election next year. Cottrell, a former Metro law director who has sat on the Court of Appeals since 1998, and Tipton, the presiding judge over the Court of...

Lawyers Overwhelmingly Support Tennessee Plan

March 26, 2013 :: The Tennessee Bar Association
NASHVILLE, March 26, 2013 Eighty-three percent of Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) members support maintaining the present plan for merit selection, performance evaluation and retention election of appellate judges, known as The Tennessee Plan, according to the TBA 2013 Member Survey. Non-member lawyers also surveyed by the group favor the present...

Tennessee House Passes Judicial-Selection Measure

March 15, 2013 :: the National Review
Earlier this week, by a vote of 78 14, the Tennessee house of representatives approved a constitutional amendment adopting a modified version of the federal method for selecting appellate judges. The amendment must now be approved by Tennessee voters on the November 2014 ballot. We are grateful to Governor Bill...

Tennessee Senate approves judicial selection amendment

February 21, 2013 :: Times Free Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Senate has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers the power to refuse the governor s appointments to appeals courts in Tennessee. The chamber voted 29-2 today in favor of the measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown. If the resolution passes the House...

Keep judge selection apolitical, save jobs

February 18, 2013 :: The Journal News

Tennessee Senate Votes on Judicial-Selection Amendment Next Week

February 14, 2013 :: the National Review
The Tennessee senate delayed a vote for one week early today on a constitutional amendment (SJR 2, nicknamed the Founders Plan ) which would abolish Tennessee s current method of judicial selection, the Missouri Plan. Instead, the state constitution would call for appointments by the governor with confirmation by the...


Legislative study could jump start judicial reform

March 26, 2013 ::
Proponents of judicial reform haven't disappeared, but they don't appear particularly confident about success these days. In 2009, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson wrote a spirited commentary calling for a merit selection system of choosing judges with retention elections. In 2011, Jefferson cited the problems with judicial selection...


Utah Senate requests public comment on judicial nominees

September 17, 2013 :: Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY The Utah Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee is seeking public comment on recently appointed judges in the 1st and 8th judicial districts.


Shumlin Appoints Judge Geoffrey Crawford To Vermont Supreme Court

September 20, 2013 :: Vermont Public Radio/AP
Governor Peter Shumlin has chosen Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford to fill a vacancy on the Vermont Supreme Court. Crawford is a Harvard Law School graduate who was in private practice in Burlington before being appointed to Superior Court in 2002 by then-Governor Howard Dean.


Reform would select best qualified judges, not best connected

April 28, 2013 :: The Roanoke Times
Virginia, home of the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere and the mother of presidents, has a flawed process for selecting judges. Virginia is one of two states where election of the judiciary is entirely a legislative prerogative. While the process, by and large, has produced good judges, it...

Should Virginia move to a merit-based system of electing judges?

April 28, 2013 :: The Roanoke Times
The Virginia Constitution provides that the judges of all courts of record shall be chosen by the vote of a majority of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly. The responsibility to appoint the judges of the commonwealth is one of our most important duties as elected...

West Virginia

W.Va. Elections Commission approves public financing rules

May 30, 2013 :: Charleston Gazette
Rules to convert the state Supreme Court public campaign financing pilot project into a permanent funding option for candidates for the high court were approved by the State Elections Commission Thursday.


Big Donors, Little Scrutiny

September 25, 2013 :: Express Milwaukee
Last week, the nonpartisan watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign announced that it had identified 14 donors who had made campaign contributions over the legal $10,000 limit this year.

Walker's approach to the judiciary

September 21, 2013 :: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Each day, the media is filled with reports of decisions by judges, in criminal and civil cases, from across Wisconsin. But other than an infrequent contested election, how the judges who decide those cases come to take the bench is not well-known.