SELECTING JUDGES - APPOINTMENT OR ELECTION?
The 2009 Bill Watch on the governor’s Web site has been updated.
Twenty-three bills were signed and one was vetoed by the governor. The governor’s veto message for House Enrolled Act 1491 can be found below. This completes the bill process for this legislative session. Here is the link to the page: http://www.in.gov/gov/billwatch.htm
“The current method of selecting judges for the St. Joseph Superior Court has prevailed successfully for 35 years. It is a model to be emulated, not discarded. It is not broken; it requires no repair. It has produced outstanding jurists and contains sufficient measures of public accountability. I believe it neither necessary nor wise to re-politicize the courts of St. Joseph County.
The addition of another panel to the Court of Appeals at $2 million per year is difficult to justify in today’s challenging fiscal environment. Moreover, if I were to sign a bill linking these two proposals, it could contribute to public cynicism by creating the appearance that my acquiescence was purchased with more appointments. Whatever the merits of expanding the Court of Appeals may be, they should be considered alone.”
SUPPORTERS OF THE CURRENT MERIT SELECTION SYSTEM INCLUDE:
The South Bend Tribune
The Indiana Lawyer
St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce
The League of Women Voters
St. Joseph County Chapter of the Indiana State Bar Association
St. Joseph County Bar Association
Lake County Bar Association
What is Merit Selection?
Sandra Day O'Connor on Merit Selection
Merit Retention by ISBA President Bill Jonas
MERIT SELECTION UNDER ATTACK — AGAIN
In what has become an annual event, lawmakers are trying to end merit selection. Representative Craig Fry has introduced legislation that would require the non-partisan election of Superior Court Judges in St. Joseph County. The proposed legislation, HB1491, would repeal the merit selection and retention process currently in place in St. Joseph County. (Representative Fry has also introduced a House joint resolution that would require Indiana Supreme Court Justices to be elected as well.)
The St. Joseph County Bar Association has long opposed legislation attempting to revoke merit selection and will vigorously oppose this proposed legislation. The SJCBA is not alone in that position. In a recent editorial, the Indiana Lawyer endorsed statewide merit selection, saying this about judicial elections: “[w]e fail to understand anyone’s attachment to such a blatantly and overtly political means of putting judges in office.” House Bill 1491 has been assigned to the Courts and Criminal Code Committee which is chaired by Matt Pierce of Bloomington.
Anyone who would like to assist the Bar Association in responding to the proposed legislation, including contacting local legislators and appearing at hearings in
Indianapolis, please contact Amy McGuire at 574.245.6753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Bend Tribune
2009 JUDICIAL SURVEY RESULTS
2008 JUDICIAL SURVEY RESULTS