Pennsylvania remains one of only six states that chooses all of its judges in contested partisan elections. In recent years, these elections have become more expensive and increasingly divisive. Now, one of our state Supreme Court justices has been indicted for alleged illegal political activity that could only happen in an election. Yet Pennsylvania stubbornly clings to a system that doesn’t make sense and causes serious problems for the judiciary and the public.
This year, Pennsylvania came closer than it has in a long time to acting to change how we select appellate judges. There was a productive public hearing on merit selection legislation in March and an extensive House Judiciary Committee debate in June. Although the issue was tabled by a one-vote margin on procedural grounds at the last minute, these were crucial steps on the road to judicial selection reform in Pennsylvania.
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