29 minutes ago
Thursday, December 08, 2005
With the defeat of state Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro fresh in their minds the legislature is considering changing the way statewide judges are selected. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The next chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Alan M. Feldman, says a priority for his one-year term will be to change the way judges are selected in Pennsylvania.
Feldman, who will formally outline his agenda today at the bar's annual meeting, said the ouster by voters of state Supreme Court Justice Russell M. Nigro on last month's statewide election ballot should serve as a "wake-up call" to spur adoption of so-called merit selection for judges. Feldman is scheduled to take office in January.
One merit-selection alternative proposed by State Sens. Vincent Fumo and Anthony Williams, both Philadelphia Democrats, calls for judicial appointments by the governor, on the recommendation of a 19-member panel, with confirmation by two-thirds of the state Senate.
"It's absolutely essential that we do this" to take the choosing of judges out of the election system and its dependence on campaign money, ward politics and ballot positions, Feldman said.
As I pointed out before most people don't know who they are voting for since it comes down to whoever can raise enough money to buy TV time to get their name recognized. They are not allowed to state a position on any issue so we get a recitation of their resume. The sources of the of the money they needed to finance a statewide campaign casts doubts about their integrity. When you take money from people and groups like labor unions, business associations, political parties and even the lawyers that will appear in front of you there will always be a suspicion that the fix is in.