O'Connor, Posner Weigh In on Judicial Selection

As typically happens as election season approaches, the debate on how to select judges is getting increased attention. 

Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor mades a compelling case for merit-based selection of judges in a New York Times column published Friday, "Take Justice Off the Ballot." 

Eric Posner (son of Judge Richard Posner), who advocates electing judges, recently wrote for Newsweek:  "The Case for Electing Judges in Missouri."

King County Bar Supports Recusal Rule

The King County Bar Association, at the request of its Appellate Law Section, called upon the Washington Supreme Court to adopt a proposed rule change currently pending for adoption that would require a judge to recuse upon motion by a party showing that an adverse party has provided financial support to the judge's judicial campaigns, based on formula related to the contribution limits established by RCW 42.17.  See KCBA's letter here

Others have weighed in on the proposed rule, including the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School--see its letter here

The proposal is to amend Rule 2.11 of the Code of Judicial Conduct to provide, in part, as follows:

(A) A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in any proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to the following circumstances:
...
(4) The judge learns by means of a timely motion by a party that an adverse party has provided financial support for any of the judge's judicial election campaigns within the last six years in an amount in excess of 10 times the dollar amount of the campaign contribution limit established by RCW 42.17.

Quote of the Day: Change Places with the Court

"Courts of appeal are not filled by Demigods.  Some members are learned, some less so.  Some are keen and persipicacious, some have more plodding minds.  In short, they are men and lawyers much like the rest of us.  ... 

...  They are not moved as perhaps an advocate may be by any hope of reward or fear of punishment.  They are simply being called upon for action in their appointed spehere.  They are anxiously waiting to be supplied with what Mr. Justice Holmes called the 'implements of decision.'  These by your presence you profess yourself ready to furnish.  If the places were reversed and you sat where they do, think what it is you would want first to know about the case.  How and in what order would you want the story told?  How would you want the skein unravelled?  What would make easier your approach to the true solution?  Those are the questions the advocate must unsparingly put to himself."

--Hon. John W. Davis, The Argument of An Appeal, 26 A.B.A. Journal 895, 896 (1940).