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Sep 09

The Assault on the Elected Judiciary: How Well-Funded Special Interests Are Seeking to Change (for the Worse) How States Select Their Judges

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In recent years, the battle over state judicial selection has intensified greatly. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into politically coordinated efforts encouraging states that still embrace popular election of judges to switch to selection by unelected “expert” commissions, a system often called “Merit Selection.” Proponents of this system decry the increased spending in state judicial races and assert that judicial independence is undermined by candidates receiving funds from attorneys and litigants they may see in a courtroom once elected. They assert that “Merit Selection” is an apolitical method of choosing candidates based on credentials rather than policy views expressed in campaign ads.

Is “Merit Selection” really apolitical, or does it just move the politics behind closed doors? Does elimination of elections create greater judicial independence, or turn our courts over to unelected elites by shutting out the electorate and reducing judicial accountability? Our distinguished panel, including Cliff Taylor, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and Colleen Pero of Pero Consulting, Inc. will discuss a study by the American Justice Partnership that explores the advantages of judicial elections and exposes the well-financed and ideologically-driven movement to eliminate judicial elections and allow special interests to capture the American judiciary.

More About the Speakers

The Honorable Cliff Taylor
Former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Colleen Pero
Attorney/Partner, Pero Consulting, Inc.

Robert Alt
Deputy Director, Center for Legal & Judicial Studies, The Heritage Foundation (Moderator)