Brennan Center: Judicial Selection in the States

From: Fair Courts E-lert, May 7, 2010 Published by the Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law.

1. Show Me Better Courts, a Missouri organization seeking to replace the state’s merit selection of judges with contested judicial elections, claims to have raised $1.5 million “to gather petition signatures” to put the organization’s proposal for a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. In a conference call with reporters, director of the organization James Harris said he expected “another $2 million to $4 million will be spent on the fall campaign if enough signatures are valid.” Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts, “the group leading opposition to the measure,” and defending the so-called “Missouri Plan” has thus far raised approximately $268,000.

Dave Helling, The Battle Over Missouri’s Courts: A Million Dollar Bash, Kansas City Star, May 3, 2010.

2. “Echoing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, [Justice John Paul] Stevens suggested that the federal system of appointed judges who hold life tenure promoted judicial independence better than popular election of judges, the practice in many states.” Stevens criticized the practice of electing state judges while at a conference of judges and lawyers in the federal Sixth Circuit, in Columbus, Ohio.

Jess Bravin, Justice Stevens: To Life, To Life, L’Chaim, Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2010.

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