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Here Comes the Judge

Now that a federal judge has ruled Marion’s County system of selecting judges is unconstitutional, it’s time to come up with a new system to pick the individuals who impartially dispense justice.

For those of you who aren’t aware, under the old system Democrats and Republicans got to pick the number of judges based on the spots that needed to be filled, it was 16 total in the last election.  The candidates ran in the primary and the top eight Rs and Ds got to fill those spots.

I always thought that was a bit odd, however to the political operative in me it makes sense that the two parties figured out a way to protect their candidates.

Now that this system is on the way out the door, might I suggest a new one?

I have never believed judges should be elected.  No offense, but I am not a fan of someone who is trained in the law to be subject to the whims of some angry folks come election time.  But, the reality is that a purely merit-based system likely isn’t going to happen, so might I suggest a compromise; a merit-based system with a retention component.

The way it would work is a bi-partisan panel would be appointed by the Governor based on recommendations by the political parties and the panel would appoint the judges.  To keep things even, no party could have a majority of appointees.  And the candidates must have practiced law at least seven years.  Once appointed the judges would serve six-year terms and then be subject to retention by the voters.  It is somewhat similar to the system used to appoint Appellate judges here in Indiana.

I think that would make for a decent compromise. The best and the brightest get appointed.  The political parties get their say.  And the voters get the final word.  What could be more judicial in approach and practice?




  • ron

    I disagree. The governor’s office has demonstrated over time and on both sides democrat and republican they always favor their own party. So no governor’s appointed panel should ever be made real because of the potential for corruption. Judicial vacancies are better filled by the voters and by that I mean actual votes by the citizens not the unconstitutional way it was done. If the people choose then it’s fair.