The Committee for Economic Development and its Members believe that selection by election is eroding citizens’ and businesses’ confidence in the integrity of their judges. Our new report, Choosing Justice? The Need for Judicial Selection Reform, features case studies documenting the growing politicization of state judicial races, including past campaigns in Florida and Missouri that have drawn national attention. Included for state policymakers is a multi-step plan that would improve the integrity and objectivity of state courts. Recommendations include:
Create a commission-based appointment process to hold judges accountable. Commissions should be independent and nonpartisan, and responsible for preparing a list of nominees for judicial appointments to be made by a state’s governor.
Develop judicial performance evaluation commissions. These independent and nonpartisan entities would be responsible for recommending whether a judge should be retained in office. Recommendations would be made available to the public and the relevant appointing authority.
Review current salaries to ensure that appropriate levels of compensation are provided to judges at all levels.
Support stricter standards of recusal to help resolve conflict of interest or bias resulting from campaign donations.
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November 18, 2015