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

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Judicial Selection in Guatemala

Stanford University Fellow for Human Rights, Mirte Postema's Study of Guatemala's Judicial Selection Processes "Reforms Alone are Insufficient to Strengthen the Judiciary."

The Abstract:    
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on judicial reform in Central America. This has led to the creation of new infrastructure and laws, but the structural problems in the judiciary remain. The author analyses this problem by means of the examination of Guatemala's 2014 judicial selection processes which, despite the existence of a fairly sophisticated legal framework and transparency requirements, were extensively manipulated by third actors. Subsequently, the author provides recommendations about how to improve this situation and move forward with the strengthening of the judiciary.

Postema writes about judicial nominating commissions somewhat similar to those often used in the United States:

"In an attempt to depoliticize the judicial selection processes, Guatemala selects its Attorney General, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges by means of Comisiones de PostulaciĆ³n [Nominating Commissions] (CdP). The Constitutional Court is exempted from this process, but other authorities are selected by mechanisms similar to CdPs, to which the principles of the LCP also apply. CdPs are ad hoc bodies that are mandated by the Constitution to establish a shortlist of candidates from
which Congress—or, in case of the selection of the Attorney General, the President—makes the
appointments. The deans of the country’s law schools form the core of CdPs. When judges are selected,other members of the legal community—representatives of the bar association and of judges—also take part in CdPs.

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