Sharon Herald Calls for Merit in Pennsylvania

PennsylvaniaAn opinion piece in the Sharon Herald calls for the adoption of merit selection in Pennsylvania. The article highlights the lack of information available to voters and the amount of money spent on “nasty attack ads” as particular areas of concern under the current system of partisan elections.

“Since candidates are typically circumspect on how they would rule in specific cases,” the newspaper writes, “voters have had to gather clues from endorsements or the candidates’ party affiliations…It’s not exactly throwing darts, but it’s pretty close.”

Referencing the bipartisan group of Pennsylvania governors that recently came out in favor of a merit selection system for the state, the Herald writes, “Schweiker raises another salient point — these contests have been subject to an enormous amount of spending, with nasty attack ads blanketing the airwaves…And the overwhelming bulk of that cash almost certainly came from advocacy groups, business interests or lawyers who had a vested interest in the outcome.”going to a merit selection would increase the chances that our judges will be chosen on the basis of actual merit. Let’s hope the Legislature gets the ball rolling.”

Going to merit selection “would increase the chances that our judges will be chosen on the basis of actual merit. Let’s hope the Legislature gets the ball rolling,” the article concludes. In October 2015, the House Judiciary Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would introduce a merit selection system for the state’s appellate courts (see Gavel Grab for background). The proposal has yet to make any further progress.