Merit selection is once again gaining traction in Pennsylvania after a bill cleared committee last week, pushing it closer to enactment than it has been in more than two decades. While any actual changes to the method of selecting judges are a long way off, the attention paid to historic levels of Supreme Court candidate fundraising and the scandals hovering over the high court in recent years have some of the bill’s proponents optimistic that merit selection may be in the state’s near future.

HB 1336, which would create a 13-member nominating commission to suggest candidates for the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth courts to the governor, cleared the state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in a 16-11 vote Oct. 20. It is set to be the first merit selection bill to receive a full House vote since 1993, according to its sponsor, Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-York.