Bench Memos

Re: Too Much Democracy for Justice O’Connor

Iowa is one of the states with “merit selection” of appellate judges, employing a nominating commission whose members are themselves partly elected, partly appointed.  After the shocking activism of the Iowa supreme court’s April ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, Andrew W. Pollock III asked the sensible question, where did Iowa get such awful judges? and examined what the public record could reveal about the commission members’ political proclivities.  Surprise, surprise: the elected members had uniformly given funds to Democrats in Iowa elections, and not a nickel to Republicans.  Oh yes, let us hear about the nonpartisan character of “merit selection”!

Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

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