Merit Selection of Arizona Supreme Court Justices

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					     POL 309
  Hope Sullivan
Courtney Loscheider
     02/09/10
       Brief History of the Merit
           Selection System
 Here in the United States, approximately
  two thirds of states and Washington
  D.C. use some variation of this system.
 In 1974, this system was approved by
  Arizona voters over popular election.
 It is used in these instances:
     Supreme Court
     Appeals Courts
     Trial Courts in the largest AZ counties –
     Pima and Maricopa
        Merit Selection System
   Judicial Nominating Commission
     Comprised of lawyers and those with non-legal
      backgrounds
     The combination of legal and lay individuals
      reduces the effects of partisanship.
 The commission sorts through a pool of
  applicants.
 Those chosen are sent to the Governor for
  final appointment.
        Merit Selection in AZ
Some reasons the merit selection system in
Arizona is unique:
 AZ judges must face retention elections (as
  opposed to life tenure)
 Also, the AZ system has a Commission on
  Judicial Performance Review to give
  information on judges to constituents
 Lastly, AZ law requires judges to evaluate
  their own performance on the bench as well
    Judicial Nominating Commissions
   Each commission has 5 lawyers, 10 non-lawyers, and
    either the Chief Justice or other sitting Justice.
   Commission on Appellate Court Appointments
     4 year terms, no more than 5 non-attorneys from the
       same party and 2 from the same county, no more
       than 3 attorneys from the same party and 2 from the
       same county
   Maricopa County and Pima County Commission on
    Trial Court Appointments
     4 year terms, no more than 2 public members from
       each supervisorial district and political party, no more
       than 3 attorneys from the same party and none can
       reside in the same supervisorial district.
                  The Process
   First, the commission sorts through applications.
    Then they choose the applicants they wish to
    interview. After the interviews, the…

     “The Commission must submit 3 applications to the
     Governor before a period of 60 days after a judicial
     position is vacated. If this doesn’t occur, the Governor
     may appoint any qualified person to fill the judicial
     vacancy. Should the Governor fail to appoint one of
     the commission's nominees within 60 days after the
     names are submitted, the Chief Justice of the Arizona
     Supreme Court makes the appointment from the list of
     nominees.” (1)
           Why Merit Selection?
   Promotes Public           Encourages
    Accountability             Diversity on the
   Produces a Highly-         Bench
    Qualified Judiciary       Incorporates
   Fosters Impartiality       Representative
                               Democracy
                              Provides Continuous
                               Improvement of the
                               Judiciary
    Pima County Commission on Trial
      Court Appointments (PCCTCA)
 Last year, I served on the Trial Court
  Nomination Commission.
 It was the job of this commission to
  select the non-attorneys to participate in
  the PCCTCA.
 I applied for this position as a resident of
  supervisorial District 3.
 We selected one Democrat and one
  Republican to serve on the PCCTCA for
  the next four years.
                     Sources
   All sources came from the Arizona Supreme
    Court website:
     (1) http://www.supreme.state.az.us/jnc/About.htm


     http://www.supreme.state.az.us/jnc/FAQ.htm#


     http://www.supreme.state.az.us/jnc/Members.htm
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