Bench Memos

No on Nevada’s Question 1

It looks like Justice O’Connor’s politicking on Nevada’s Question 1 on judicial selection didn’t fare any better than her unseemly intervention in Iowa’s judicial retention-election campaign: By a vote of roughly 58% to 42%, Nevada’s voters have rejected Question 1. 

I’ll add, for what it’s worth, that I generally like the federal system in which the executive nominates judges and a legislative body votes on whether to confirm the nominees. I think that’s a good model for state judicial selection (though not necessarily the only good model), and I might even support a stronger appointive power in the governor (e.g., no need for confirmation), especially if it’s coupled with a popular check in the form of a retention election. 

What Nevada’s Question 1 would have done, however, is restrict the governor to selecting his judges from “lists of candidates nominated by the Commission on Judicial Selection.” I can’t say that I care much for such a system (mislabeled “merit selection” by its advocates but perhaps better called “merit deception”), which would confer far too much unaccountable power on the bar-association types who would dominate the Commission on Judicial Selection.

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