Former governors Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, and Tom Corbett have published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, calling for the merit selection of all judges in the Keystone State. Their position goes beyond even the current proposed legislation, which would extend merit selection only to the state’s appellate judges. The governors note:
Merit selection is not a panacea. We are hardly naïve about today’s political realities. Nonetheless, having in place a system by which any qualified candidate can apply for an open seat on the appellate bench and be considered by a bipartisan, diverse group of citizens from across the commonwealth — a group tasked with evaluating the strength of that candidate’s professional and personal qualifications to serve — is a far better system than one in which random ballot position, fund-raising, and campaigning are determining factors.
The op-ed also cites to the excellent work being done by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts to make the case for changing the state’s judicial selection system.