Monday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A commentary in The Gazette about the retention election of three Iowa Supreme Court justices in November was headlined, “No retention drama in 2016. But keep your fingers crossed.”
  • “Get involved in nonpartisan judicial elections,” urged an editorial in the Huntington, West Virginia Herald-Dispatch.
  • The recent ethics case involving former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin illustrates the need for an independent system to police “wayward” judges, a Scranton Times-Tribune editorial said.

Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court, upholding a multimillion-dollar award to workers at a Tysons Food plant, dealt a blow to a corporate push against class-action lawsuits, The Washington Post said.
  • If the Kentucky Senate doesn’t allot more money for the judiciary’s budget, the courts might have to fire 600 employees and curtail other services, Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton warned, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robyn Moberly, who is the IndyBar president, recapped in Indiana Lawyer the debate in the state legislature this year that fell short of achieving agreement on a new judicial selection method for Marion County, where the state capital is located.
  • “Toughen requirements to become a judge,” a San Antonio, Texas Express-News editorial urged.

Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by an Alabama defendant challenging that state’s death-sentencing scheme, according to AL.com. To learn about the controversy over the Alabama law, see Gavel Grab.
  • A bill taking power away from the Judicial Nominating Commission in Oklahoma is likely to win legislative approval, but not a proposal for switching to the election of judges, Journal Record reporter Dale Denwalt told KGOUGavel Grab has background.
  • A legislative committee will consider proposed changes to the membership of the judicial nominating board in Vermont, reported Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts.
  • On Election Day for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which coincides with the state’s presidential primary, an unusually high 40 percent voter turnout is expected, Fox6Now reported.

Monday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • NBC10 Philadelphia reports that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty has been hospitalized after being assaulted by a homeless man in Center City Friday night.
  • According to the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has appointed a seventh Democrat to the state’s 12-member Judicial Selection Commission, violating state statutes that limit the number of members of the same party to six.
  • The editorial board of the Indiana Business Journal urges policymakers in Marion County to carefully consider merit selection over the coming year, calling the judicial selection reform decision “too important to be politicized.”

Thursday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The Allentown Morning Call reports that despite Pennsylvania’s bipartisan approach to federal appointments, Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey has broken ranks, blasting the White House for what he describes as a “partisan, confrontational approach over a flawed candidate.”
  • According to The Washington Post, Richard Roberts, the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia’s federal court, retired on Wednesday citing “unspecified health issues.” The newspaper also reports that the announcement came on the same day that a Utah woman filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against him accusing him of sexual assault.

Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A third candidate, lawyer Eric Mills, has joined the race for a Montana Supreme Court seat, according to The Great Falls Tribune. Others running for the seat are District Judge Dirk Sandefur and law professor Kristen Juras.
  • LehighValleyLive.com, which recently editorialized in favor of a merit selection proposal in Pennsylvania (see Gavel Grab), is asking readers to submit to an informal poll on the issue.
  • An elected Texas jurist, Smith County Judge Joel Baker, has resigned from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct amid accusations he sexted while sitting on that board, according to KLTV.

Monday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • The Associated Press reported, “Pennsylvania officials are battling over the wording of a ballot question that lets voters decide whether to raise the mandatory retirement age of judges.” See Gavel Grab for background.
  • A Columbus Dispatch article recapped the race between two appellate judges in a GOP primary for the Ohio Supreme Court this week. They are judges Pat Fischer and Colleen O’Toole.

Friday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange asked the state Court of Criminal Appeals to order Judge Tracie Todd to vacate her order this month voiding the state’s capital sentencing scheme, which she decided in part due to the influence of partisan politics on elected state judges (see Gavel Grab about her ruling). Strange’s request was reported by AL.com.
  • With the clock running out and no agreement reached, Indiana legislators postponed a decision until next year on writing into law a new judicial selection method for Marion County, home of the state capital city (Gavel Grab has background).
  • The Hawaii Senate killed a proposal to require Senate consent when judges seek to stay in office, according to Honolulu Civil Beat (see Gavel Grab about proposals to dump merit selection that did not succeed).
  • Justice Christopher Dietzen announced he will step down from the Minnesota Supreme Court, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Gov. Mark Dayton will get his fifth appointment for the seven-member high court, after receiving recommendations from a judicial screening commission.
  • A Stillwater News Press editorial questioned the underlying logic of a legislative proposal to revise the judicial screening commission process (for background about the bill, see Gavel Grab).

Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Plans are under way to begin streaming online the oral arguments made before the California Supreme Court, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye told legislators, according to The Associated Press. 
  • As Ohioans get ready for primary voting next week, they can learn more about judicial candidates from the nonpartisan website JudicialVotesCount.org, Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said in a letter to The Columbus Dispatch.
  • Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts, had a news article with this headline: “AZ: Citing State’s ‘Sovereign Authority,’ Bill to Prohibit State Courts from Enforcing Federal Courts Rulings Clears Senate Committee; House Approved 31-27.”
  • A Mother Jones commentary discussed a recent case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a death sentence case and an elected Pennsylvania chief justice who declined a request to recuse himself, after his former office had prosecuted the defendant years earlier. See Gavel Grab for background.