Choose Merit Selection for Pennsylvania, Not Scandal, Editorial Says

2000px-Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_Pennsylvania.svgOnly hours after Justice Michael Eakin resigned from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court amid a lewd email scandal (see Gavel Grab), a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial supported a switch to merit selection, rather than contested election, for choosing top state judges:

“A few weeks before Eakin’s resignation, five former governors from both parties joined Gov. Wolf in supporting legislation to replace the state’s low-interest, high-cost, partisan judicial elections with a merit-based selection process for the state’s appellate judges. Eakin’s departure in disgrace, the third from the high court in as many years, makes it that much clearer that the alternative is regular and reliable scandal.”

The suspended judge’s resignation “was in the best interests of all, especially our justice system and the public’s perception of it,” Lynn Marks of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a Justice at Stake partner organization, told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.  “The content of the emails raised serious questions about his judgment. Since judges are appropriately held to the highest standards of integrity, the court cannot tolerate behavior by any justice that is not entirely beyond reproach.”