Gavel Grab

O'Connor Takes Reform Message to NC

Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, continuing a drive to end competitive elections for state judges, carried her message to North Carolina this week.

Justice O’Connor told students at Elon University School of Law that although North Carolina offers public financing for some judicial elections, that doesn’t go far enough, the Greensboro News and Record reported in an editorial.

“I know you have some public funding of elections, and it’s nonpartisan, but that doesn’t do enough,” she said. “I hope that someday you’ll think about something else in North Carolina.”

Justice O’Connor is a champion of the appointment system known as merit selection. The editorial said she ought to return and make her pitch to state legislative leaders. “The biggest problem with judicial elections here, as elsewhere, is that few voters know enough about the courts or candidates to make reasoned, informed decisions,” it said. “Elections leave to chance decisions that are too important to get wrong.”

You can learn about North Carolina’s public financing system from Justice at Stake’s issues page on the topic, and about appointment and retention systems from a separate issues page.

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