Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Filibustering or Delaying Confirmation Votes on State Judges

In about a dozen states, the governor's high court nominees face a confirmation vote by the state senate or other popularly elected body.   Should the senate have to hold such a vote promptly or should it be allowed to delay a vote? 

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is, Bill Raftery (Gavel to Gavel) points out, finding it hard to get his judicial nominees through the Democratically controlled Senate because "the Democratic leadership of the Senate has simply declined to schedule hearings or votes for nominees."  A Republican NJ senator has introduced a resolution would counteract that, providing “a 90-day time limit on hearing nominations to the Supreme Court. If the Senate refuses to vote within 90 days, the nominee would win confirmation automatically.”

As Bill Raftery explains, other states have automatic confirmation deadlines like this (including my state of Kansas which recently instituted a senate confirmation system for its court of appeals) and other states have automatic rejection of nominees if a vote is not held by the deadline.

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