|Posted:||January 14, 2013 11:24 AM|
|From:||Senator Anthony H. Williams|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Merit Selection Legislation|
|In the near future, I plan to introduce a statutory bill and a joint resolution in order to implement merit selection in the Commonwealth. Merit selection will replace Pennsylvania's current process of judicial elections for appellate judges. Currently, 23 states have a merit selection process, or a modified version of merit selection, in place.
Our present system of judicial elections allows for partisan influence through campaigns, fundraising, television advertisements and robo calls. According to a Spring 2010 poll conducted by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, 73% of participants stated that the most qualified candidates do not win judicial elections and 76% believed campaign contributions influence judicial decision-making. My legislation would require the establishment of a new independent nominating commission, charged with both screening and interviewing candidates for judicial vacancies and making recommendations to the Governor as to the most qualified candidates. The Governor would nominate judicial appointments from the commission's list of recommendations. Further, all nominees would be subject to Senate confirmation. After their initial terms, statewide judges could seek additional terms by participating in nonpartisan retention elections.
This system would finally eliminate the need for prospective judges to raise money to fund campaigns, remove the influence of random factors such as ballot position, and place value on diversity as to those involved in the selection process as well as those who reach the bench.
|Description:||Please join me in reforming our judicial selection process by co-sponsoring this statutory legislation establishing the independent nominating commission and merit selection process. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact my office at 787-5970. Thank you for your consideration.|
Introduced as SB298
|Description:||Please join me in reforming our judicial selection process by co-sponsoring this joint resolution to amend the State Constitution to allow for merit selection. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact my office at 787-5970. Thank you for your consideration.|