Merit Selection System
Merit Selection is the judicial selection system that best ensures that qualified individuals will reach the bench without the problematic influence of money on the selection process.
Merit selection uses an independent bipartisan citizens nominating commission composed of men and women from across the Commonwealth, non-lawyers and lawyers, from diverse occupational, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Anyone meeting the required criteria may be appy to the commission to be considered for a judicial vacancy.
Pennsylvania has the chance to make its judiciary more independent.
We advocate for the implementation of a hybrid appointive, merit-based selection process. In the proposed system, partisan elections of our appellate court judges and justices would be replaced by an independent, diverse, bipartisan citizens nominating commission, gubernatorial selection from the commission's list of five highly qualified candidates for any open position on the bench, followed by Senate confirmation. Local judges, better know generally by local voters, would continue to be elected.
Help Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts as we support the legislation that will make it happen.
HB 111, which embodies the selection system we support, was recently reported out of the House Judiciary Committee. At the same time, unfortunately, HB 196 was reported out as well. The latter bill would retain partisan elections at all levels and balkanize our state judiciary by creating a patchwork of small districts from which judges, including our appellate judges and justices, would be elected. it would exacerbate the corrupting influence of money and campaigning and sound the death knell of an independent judiciary in Pennsylvania. We are vigorously working to defeat it.