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

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Judicial Elections vs. Federal Method (esp. in Florida)

The Miami Herald editorializes:

A member of the Miami Herald Editorial Board was present as the 20-plus members of the Florida Judicial Nominating Commission quizzed and grilled the 15 candidates for 25 minutes each, the final phase of a long process that began in July for the privilege of having their names recommended to Florida’s two U.S. senators.
    
In this race, voters did not pick the winner; the blue-ribbon panel made up of local legal eagles and community leaders had the honor — and somehow that seemed right and how, perhaps, it should be done for all judicial races.
 The different selection processes for state and federal judges — the first are generally elected, the latter selected — highlighted the anemic slate of judicial candidates and bitter races with plenty of mudslinging that played out in Miami-Dade and Broward last month. Judicial decorum was missing among a number of candidates.  Leaving aside the pros and cons of "mudslinging" in judicial elections, the role of judicial nominating commissions at the federal level raises several interesting questions.  Among them: 1. Who appoints the commission: "the blue-ribbon panel made up of local legal eagles and community leaders"?2. How much deference do Florida's senators give the commissions and why?3. How similar are commissions in the federal system (where ultimate power to select a judge rests with the president and sensate) to commissions in Missouri Plan states in which the commission and governors share power to select judges?

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/09/04/4328563/the-making-of-a-federal-judge.html#storylink=cpy

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