IAALS Report Sheds Light on Bankruptcy Judge Selection

The Denver-based Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) has published a new report that was undertaken to shed light on the process for selecting federal bankruptcy judges. IAALS is a Justice at Stake partner organization.

The report is entitled, “A Credit to the Courts: The Selection, Appointment, and Reappointment Process for Bankruptcy Judges.” Its introduction says a “merit selection panel” is used to recommend candidates, in a fashion similar to that used in a number of states for selecting judges, and that federal appellate court judges ultimately choose the bankruptcy judges. This process gets good reviews, it says:

“Our research for this project included interviews with merit selection panel members, court of appeals judges, and bankruptcy judges, and these individuals were unanimous in praising the products of the selection process. According to a chief district court judge who has chaired several merit selection panels, ‘It’s worked really well. When you look at the new judges we have, they are a stellar group.’ A circuit court judge who often chairs screening panels also offered her endorsement of the selection process: ‘The system we’ve used over the last twenty years has gotten some really good judges.’ A now-chief bankruptcy judge who has been on the bench for more than two decades summed it up: ‘They generally pick the best person, and it truly is merit selection. I’m proud of the way bankruptcy judges are selected. To me it is the best merit selection process we have.’”

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