Selecting judges through a nominating commission that gives special powers to the bar is the core of "Missouri Plan" systems used in several states and called "merit selection" by those who favor it. The first state to enact such a system, Missouri, has in recent years seen many proposals for change. Just this month, the Missouri secretary of state’s office has approved for circulation two initiative-petition ballot proposals that would have partisan elections for the state’s Supreme Court.
Either measure would be a proposed constitutional amendment if it gets signatures from at least 157,788 Missouri voters.
More on the Missouri Plan here in an article in the Missouri Law Review.
Defenders of Missouri's current judicial selection system are here
Advocates of change are discussed here with a video of James Harris here