I’ve written about this before. I’ve done so for years. I’m doing so again. And I’ll tell you why.
When it comes to judicial elections, especially for state courts, our current system creates an impression that justice is for sale.
And even if it’s not? Even if it’s only for rent? There are sound reasons to reform the system to raise the level of public trust in our politics and courts.
“Judges are supposed to be nonideological, nonpartisan and impartial,” says Maida Milone, president of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a group working for judicial merit selection, “They shouldn’t have D’s and R’s after their names. They shouldn’t take money from people and groups who might end up in their courtrooms.”
Yet they do.
Read the whole article at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The mean and ugly attack ads which we all saw on our televisions in the last few weeks of the race for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the similar ads that appeared two years ago during the Supreme Court race, are not simply offensive to many of us but they raise serious concerns for our state’s judicial system.
It is time for everyone to accept the responsibility to put a stop to this. It is time to heed the teachings of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts that we abandon partisan statewide judicial elections in favor of a sensible merit selection process that will ensure competency and stem the rapidly eroding confidence in the impartiality of our courts.
Read the rest at the Post-Gazette.
by Mary Beth Schluckebier
Every Election Day, big or small, is extraordinary — energized by the patriots of the past and the possibility of change for tomorrow. It is an opportunity to exercise what is, for many of us, the hard-earned right to vote. It’s a day for dissenters to secure their right to complain for the term to come, and for Americans everywhere to don their red, white, and blue stickers in proud proclamation of completing their civic duty. The magnitude of the day is never lost on me.
This Election Day, however, is also a perfect opportunity to share why, as a threshold matter, we should not be voting for judges. Pennsylvania is only one of a handful of states where judges are elected. At both the trial and appellate level, candidates run for a 10-year term via partisan races. Inevitably, the judicial selection process is fueled by money, most of which comes from lawyers, unions, and businesses likely to have cases before the judge, especially at the state Supreme Court level.
Read more at WHYY.
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PMC press releases, statements, and news coverage of our work, in addition to the latest news on Pennsylvania's courts, judicial elections, ethics, discipline and more.
Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can come to our courts with confidence that they will be heard by qualified, fair, and impartial judges
1500 John F. Kennedy Blvd., 2 Penn Center, Suite 1140, Philadelphia, PA 19102