Friday, April 22, 2005

Two views on overhaul of the judicial system

As I noted in a rare Sunday post, there is a movement afoot to change the way that judicial candidates in Philadelphia get endorsed by the Democratic party. The current system involves an astounding amount of cash, paid to the party officially and to virtually every Ward leader in a semi-acknowledged manner. This is obviously a recipe for getting a selection of candidates for reasons other than their qualifications and judicial philosophies, and several powerful leaders have declared their intent to change the process entirely.
  • Tom Ferrick opines that a top-down merit system would be an improvement (actually, he thinks any reform would be a miracle).

  • Meanwhile, this letter to the editor points out that appointments are open to influence games as well, and suggests that the proposed change would just export the hijinks (and the money) from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.
As with all the pay-to-play problems in the city, from City Hall to construction inspections, it's much easier to recognize the problem than to fix it. Every bit of daylight helps.


Blogger Friedman said...

There can definitely be funny business with merit selection, but it generally works better because there is a logical, participatory, transparent process that brings potential judges up for consideration and approval. This would be a real advancement for Philadelphia - let's hope it happens.

4:00 PM  

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