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

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Recommended Process for Judicial Selection and Retention

Retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has released her recommended process for selecting and retaining state court judges. 

Justice O'Connor has worked closely with IAALS, the Institute for Advancement of the American Legal System.  The IAALS/O'Connor plan:

"calls for a judicial nominating commission to screen applicants and identify the best qualified candidates, appointment by the governor of one of those candidates, broad-based and objective evaluation of judges’ performance on the bench, and periodic retention elections in which voters have access to judicial performance evaluation results and are able to vote for or against the sitting judge."

In short, it's the usual Missouri Plan or nominating commission system and, to the credit of Justice O'Connor and IAALS, they avoid calling it "merit selection." Unfortunately, they do not answer the key question: who picks the pickers?  In other words, who selects the nominating commission?  

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