Merit Selection Would be ‘Big Improvement’: Pennsylvania Editorial

justice-scalesA truly bipartisan judicial vetting commission advising Gov. Tom Wolf would be a good idea for Pennsylvania, and it “might even pave the way for another big improvement — merit selection of all appellate judges,” a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial declares.

The editorial comes in the wake of complaints from state Senate Republicans (see Gavel Grab) about the role of an existing advisory group and accusations that its membership is disproportionately weighted in favor of Democrats. The Republicans ought to take Wolf’s invitation to recommend someone for the panel, the editorial adds.

Pennsylvania’s legislature is considering a proposal to switch from the contested election of top state judges to their selection through a merit-based system. The proposal has attracted a lot of attention during a period of scandal surrounding the high court; one seat on the state Supreme Court is currently vacantly following a justice’s resignation amid scandal.

A Patriot-News headline, meanwhile, reports, “Referendum on raising judges’ retirement age delayed until fall election.