Arizona Advocacy Network is pleased to provide a summary on the 2014 Judicial Retention Elections. This handout includes which judges will be on your ballot, their rating from the Commission on Judicial Performance Review and which Governor appointed them. These judges were appointed under Arizona’s Merit Selection System, which exists in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties. The remaining 12 counties elect their Superior Court judges but each county can opt into the Merit system by a vote of the people or automatically when their population reaches 250,000.
Merit Selection was approved in 1974 by voters statewide to address a series of scandals and as a means to advance fair and impartial courts. Through the Merit Selection system, a non-partisan commission, chaired by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court or designee, 10 public members and five lawyers investigate and evaluate judicial applicants. The best three candidates are then nominated to the governor who appoints one of them to fill the vacancy.
State courts across America are increasingly under attack by special interests following the Citizens United ruling. The Merit Selection system reduces the influence of interest groups and partisan politics over our courts, resulting in a judicial system that is fair and impartial for those who stand before a judge. For more information, visit the Arizona Courts Judicial Performance Review website, azcourts.gov/jpr.