Judged On Merit

There's an interesting move in Pennsylvania to try to remove power from the people to elect judges. I'd never heard of the Merit Selection movement before a friend brought it to my attention this morning, but googling around, it turns out some 20 states already use it. In essence, rather than electing judges, "Merit Selection" puts the power to select judges in the hands of a judicial selection commission, which forwards slates of names from which a governor may choose.

Who could be opposed to Merit Selection --and especially when Conservatives are running around the country talking about the need for "good judges"? The argument is that Merit Selection keeps politics out of the judiciary, but in fact it politicizes the judiciary even more. Basically the Bar chooses the judges, which means lawyers are choosing the judges they'll appear before.

Apparently John Grisham has a novel out about this.
In a result that might surprise Mr. Grisham, a 2007 Harvard study actually found that judges who are elected directly by voters are overall less corrupt than those who win their robes through other methods of selection. Direct election may raise concerns about campaign contributions and the appearance of influence, but it also has the virtue of accountability to the electorate.
What's interesting and creepy is the money for this movement is coming from George Soros, who's giving grants to all kinds of organizations pushing merit selection. Groups such as Justice At Stake and Judgesonmerit.org (and the group linked above, Pennsylvanians for modern courts).

Someone needs to do a psychological profile of George Soros and get him help. How can a holocaust survivor be so deeply anti-liberty? In the meantime, beware talk of "good judges" and "judicial reform." It may not mean what you want it to mean.

American Courthouse is keeping on eye on this. I like the motto here:
When lawyers choose, the people lose.