Testifying before a Texas House committee, current and former leaders of the state’s high courts agreed that appellate judges’ terms in office should last longer than six years. But they disagreed about an idea to create a commission to scrutinize judicial candidates’ qualifications.

Speaking together on March 17 for the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee’s first 2014 hearing, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and former Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson supported creation of a commission to vet judicial candidates and recommend appointments to the governor; voters would then be allowed to decide whether to retain judges in a nonpartisan election. But Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller and one lawmaker said voters would rather pick their own judges.

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