This morning’s Newsday included an overview of the reforms the editorial board believes should be implemented in the state’s court system, including a switch to "merit selection" of judges from the convention system that was recently found unconstitutional.
The constitutional amendment process that would be required to implement "merit selection" would take a number of years, and whether that form of an appointment system would be an improvement over an elective system is still an open question, in our view. The devil is in the details in both cases, but we are interested in examining any system that is constitutional and is likely to improve diversity on the bench. None of the current proposals to “tinker” with the convention system satisfies either of those criteria.
It's also important to clear up one misconception in the editorial: Newsday didn’t quite capture the current status of judicial elections when it said: “The legislature has to adopt an alternative.” In fact, if the Legislature fails to act, we will move to a direct primary system in September 2007, as directed by U.S. District Court Judge Gleeson and affirmed by the 2nd Circuit.
Categories: General, Judicial Selection