It’s Merely More Partisan Politics
Contrary to the assertions made in The Pilot’s March 11 editorial, Gov. Perdue’s Judicial Nominating Commission does not take politics out of the judicial nomination process. Instead, it is merely politics by a more partisan and less democratic process.
Vanderbilt law professor Brian Fitzpatrick has conducted extensive research into appointments by judicial nominating commissions.
His research shows that commissions do not yield more qualified judges, and that judges who are selected without the assistance of a commission are equally or more independent than those selected by a commission.
Additionally, professor Fitzpatrick’s research demonstrates that judicial nominating commissions produce a more politicized judiciary. For example, in Missouri, since 1995, 87 percent of nominees who made campaign contributions made them to Democrats.
Similarly, in Tennessee, of the nominees whose primary voting records were publically available, two-thirds of the nominees voted in Democratic primaries more often than any other.
Frequently unmentioned is the fact that the governor, regardless of whether he or she believes any of the nominees are the best candidate, must appoint one of the commission’s nominees to the bench. Despite this tremendous power, if the public is dissatisfied with the commission’s nominees, they have no ability to hold the members of the commission accountable.
This commission greatly diminishes the citizens’ control over their government and will produce a more partisan judiciary.
When Gov. Perdue leaves the governor’s mansion in a few months, her preferred method of selecting judges should go along with her.
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