Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We Must Go Beyond "Modest" Tinkering on Judicial Reform

From Crain's New York Business:
On other matters, Judge Kaye defended the current convention-based system of choosing judges, saying only modest reforms are needed, such as modifying the conventions to allow for more candidates to participate and winning legislation requiring judicial screening committees.

Her position differs sharply from many groups -- namely the Brennan Center for Justice, the New York Bar Association, the Fund for Modern Courts -- who support fundamental reforms including merit selection.
While the Brennan Center has publicly supported judicial pay raises, this article misrepresents the Center's position on reforming New York's selection process for state Supreme Court judges. The Center is agnostic as to the question of appointments versus elections in the abstract.

Where, however, as in New York, elections are required under the state constitution, the Center's unequivocal position is that voters and candidates are entitled to more than a sham that merely masquerades as an election - which is what New York has now. The Center's position is that fundamental democratic reforms - rather than the "modest" tinkering Judge Kaye references - are necessary both as a matter of law and policy.

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