While the Brennan Center takes no position on the Governor’s long-term plan for an appointed judiciary, we welcome his proposal for interim reform of judicial selection.
The interim proposal, which would go into effect while the so-called "merit selection" constitutional amendment makes its way through the approval process, would:
- Form Independent Judicial Qualifications Commissions to evaluate candidates and submit a list of qualified individuals;
- Create alternative ways for judges to get nominated; and
- Provide public financing for Supreme Court candidates.
The Governor’s plan, along with proposals made by Senator John DeFrancisco, will ultimately strengthen New York’s judiciary. Under the current system, many well-qualified lawyers are never even considered for judgeships because they lack ties to party leaders. Allowing all well-qualified candidates to compete for their party’s nomination will improve confidence in our courts.