“Montana’s judiciary must not be forced onto the auction block,” retired state Supreme Court Justice James Nelson writes in an outspoken Montana Standard op-ed. Signing the opinion with him were retired Justices Terry Trieweiler, Jim Regnier, Bill Leaphart, Bill Hunt and John (Skeff) Sheehy.
WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – A national organization focused on removing special interests from the selection of judges is praising retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s recently released model for choosing state judges. The plan, “The O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan,” is the culmination of a lengthy study on judicial selection conducted by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and O’Connor.
The plan includes “a judicial nominating commission to screen judicial applicants and identify the best qualified candidates, appointment by the governor of one of those candidates, broad-based and objective evaluation of judges’ performance on the bench, and periodic retention elections,” according to an announcement by O’Connor and IAALS. Justice at Stake, nonpartisan national partnership of more than 50 organizations, sees the plan as a step in the right direction to removing special interest at of the courts.
“Justice O’Connor has advocated tirelessly for fair and impartial courts, and is renowned for her leadership role in this area,” Liz Seaton, deputy executive director of Justice at Stake, said in a Wednesday press release.
“We are extremely proud that today, she and our partner group, IAALS, have released a plan that seeks to improve the U.S. justice system. We applaud this latest, outstanding achievement in a distinguished career and encourage everyone to read it.”
Judicial selection plans like the one released are among reforms Justice at Stake supports as a means of reducing the influence of money and politics in judicial selection and ensuring the advancement of the best-qualified candidates to state high courts, the press release states.