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Judicial Selection Reform: Examples from Six States

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Title: Judicial Selection Reform: Examples from Six States
País: USA
Idioma: English 
Fuente: Fuente: American Judicature SocietyFuente: American Judicature Society
Reseña: Reseña: In the following chapters, we examine successful judicial selection reform efforts in six states.The changes accomplished in these states represent a range of reform possibilities—from changingthe method of selection, to improving the tone and conduct of the existing process, toenabling voters to make more informed decisions in judicial elections. Specifically, reformsinclude moving from judicial elections to merit selection, making judicial elections nonpartisancontests, limiting the contributions that judicial candidates can accept, creating a watchdog committeeto monitor judicial campaign conduct, disseminating a voter guide with information aboutjudicial candidates, and providing voters with evaluations of judicial retention candidates’ performanceon the bench. These reforms took place in states that represent an array of regional andpolitical cultures—from New York to Alabama, Mississippi to Arizona, and Washington to Texas—and the efforts were led by a variety of state actors, including governors, legislators, judges, professionalassociations, citizens’ groups, and the media.For each chapter, we discuss the nature of the reform and its implementation in other states.Then we consider the reform landscape in that state, including the events that provided the impetusfor reform. We also describe the actors who initiated and sustained the call for reform andrecount the strategies that brought the reform effort to fruition. Finally, we assess the impact of thereform based on the perceptions of the actors involved, the reactions of the media and the public,and the focus of additional reform efforts.Judicial selection reform efforts have taken on heightened importance in recent years asjudicial elections have become increasingly expensive and contentious and as voter participationin judicial elections has declined. It is our hope that reformers seeking to preserve public trustand confidence in the courts will learn from the examples of successful reform efforts presentedhere.In the following chapters, we examine successful judicial selection reform efforts in six states. The changes accomplished in these states represent a range of reform possibilities—from changing the method of selection, to improving the tone and conduct of the existing process, to enabling voters to make more informed decisions in judicial elections. Specifically, reforms include moving from judicial elections to merit selection, making judicial elections nonpartisan contests, limiting the contributions that judicial candidates can accept, creating a watchdog committee to monitor judicial campaign conduct, disseminating a voter guide with information about judicial candidates, and providing voters with evaluations of judicial retention candidates’ performance on the bench. These reforms took place in states that represent an array of regional and political cultures—from New York to Alabama, Mississippi to Arizona, and Washington to Texas— and the efforts were led by a variety of state actors, including governors, legislators, judges, professional associations, citizens’ groups, and the media. For each chapter, we discuss the nature of the reform and its implementation in other states. Then we consider the reform landscape in that state, including the events that provided the impetus for reform. We also describe the actors who initiated and sustained the call for reform and recount the strategies that brought the reform effort to fruition. Finally, we assess the impact of the reform based on the perceptions of the actors involved, the reactions of the media and the public, and the focus of additional reform efforts. Judicial selection reform efforts have taken on heightened importance in recent years as judicial elections have become increasingly expensive and contentious and as voter participation in judicial elections has declined. It is our hope that reformers seeking to preserve public trust and confidence in the courts will learn from the examples of successful reform efforts presented here.


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