Ask Senate State Affairs Committee to Consider Judicial Selection Methods

The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee has an interim charge to  “examine the effect of eliminating straight-party voting for candidates for judicial office and make recommendations to ensure candidates are given individual consideration by voters.”  It is unusual for an interim committee to have a public hearing, but this committee has invited speakers. As part of the Texas Fair Courts Network, Common Ground for Texans plans to give testimony.  Please come and lend your support.
 
When: Thursday, February 18 beginning at 9:00 AM
Where: Capitol Extension E1.016

Here are a few paragraphs from our testimony:

Although we recognize that there can be no perfect system for judicial selection of judges, we do know that if we want a fair and impartial court with qualified judges who are beholden only to the law and not to their funders, the current system of electing judges must be changed.

The recommendation under your consideration to “examine the effect of eliminating straight-party voting for candidates for judicial office and make recommendations to ensure candidates are given individual consideration by voters” neither ensures qualified judges nor removes the real or perceived influence of the funders on their decision making.

Although we support removing judicial elections from straight party voting and feel it would represent an improvement in judicial selection because it would eliminate partisan sweeps of these important positions, we feel that this change does not go far enough.  It is our opinion that you must investigate the need for a completely new method of selection. 

We ask you to broaden your study to look at ALL judicial selection methods used across the country.
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