Gavel Grab

Proposed Michigan Judicial Selection Reforms Win Support

A bipartisan task force’s call in April, for sweeping reforms to judicial selection in Michigan, still is winning editorial endorsement.

The task force made among its top recommendations the full disclosure of those funding state Supreme Court campaign ads and open, nonpartisan primaries for the Supreme Court (see Gavel Grab).

This week, a Holland Sentinel editorial used the occasion of recent nominating conventions to criticize state Supreme Court races that are both partisan and often big-spending.

“You don’t have to be a professional cynic to worry about the influence of money on judicial independence,” the editorial continued, citing concerns raised and reforms suggested by the task force, which was led by two judges.

The editorial urged “removing political parties from the nominating process entirely” and taking action “to eliminate potential campaign contribution conflicts of interest.” While the editorial board said it isn’t a great fan of public financing, “if it’s ever appropriate it’s for the Supreme Court.” It supported requiring full disclosure of donors to state Supreme Court campaigns.

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