As Pennsylvania legislators consider a new bill to do away with elections of appellate judges and replace them with merit selection, NewsWorks has quoted Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg about how merit systems can help.
Merit selection “has worked well in a couple dozen states for awhile now. It most of the time has reduced the political mischief and the kind of big money Pennsylvania has seen,” Brandenburg said, according to NewsWorks, the online home of WHYY news in Philadelphia.
Commission members have largely succeeded in focusing on quality in vetting judicial candidates, he said. “[Members] may have their own political background, but they tend to check it at the door. It’s very important for any commission to establish a culture where that happens. In Arizona, for example … they actually broadcast the proceedings on the Internet, people can watch and see that people actually are checking their politics.” Brandenburg added, “In the end, that’s what you want — a quality judge, appointed without political games, and a commission that’s properly diverse and properly transparent.”
To learn about the proposed constitutional amendment in Pennsylvania, see Gavel Grab. Other related media coverage included Philly.com, “Seen this one before”; lehighvalleylive.com editorial, “Merit selection of judges takes campaign cash out of the equation”; and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “12 Pa. Supreme Court candidates spent more than $5M in primary, reports show.”