Change elec­tions for judges

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation & World -

In our state, we select judges in par­ti­san elec­tions. Texas is only one of seven states that use this sys­tem. About 40 per­cent of states choose their judges through merit sys­tems. Another ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent select them through non­par­ti­san elec­tions. Two states ap­point their judges, sim­i­lar to the way the fed­eral ju­di­ciary is se­lected. Isn’t the ju­di­ciary is sup­posed to be iso­lated from pol­i­tics?

In Texas, we elect our judges ev­ery four years. In the other states that have par­ti­san elec­tions, judges are elected for a min­i­mum of six years up to 10 years. Here, judges no sooner get on the bench and set­tle in when they have to start rais­ing money to run again. In the re­cent elec­tions, we voted for 86 of­fices, of which 68 are judge­ships. How is the av­er­age voter ex­pected to make an in­formed de­ci­sion about the qual­i­fi­ca­tions and de­meanor of a judge if they have never seen or heard about their de­ci­sions? The an­swer is they can­not.

We de­serve a bet­ter method and so do the peo­ple seek­ing jus­tice. We de­pend on these judges for hon­est, non­po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions. We Tex­ans seem to have the worst of all worlds.

David Spar­row, East Dal­las

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