Judicial Selection

In the United States, state supreme court and intermediate appellate court judges are chosen by one of two methods: (1) direct election by voters or (2) selection by governors or judicial selection committees. Judicial selection committees typically comprise appointees of the governor, legislative leaders and other stakeholders. They can either appoint judges directly or submit a list of candidates for the governor to choose from. While touted as being impartial and independent, many judicial selection committees suffer from politicization and the influence of single-interest groups. Read More...

To improve the process for selecting judges, ILR released a publication titled Promoting “Merit” in Merit Selection: A Best Practices Guide to Commission-Based Judicial Selection. Among the procedures the report recommends are:

  • A transparent selection process for members of the commission
  • Requiring equal representation between the political parties
  • Limiting lawyers to one-third of the seats
  • An open process for evaluating potential judges
  • Requiring the commission to consider merit as the predominant factor for judicial appointments, with geographic and demographic diversity as secondary considerations
  • Mandating the submission of multiple candidates to the governor for consideration during a vacancy

These recommendations have been highlighted by a variety of groups from across the political and ideological spectrum, including the League of Women Voters.

Suggested Resources

Research
  • Promoting Merit in Merit Selection

    Promoting Merit in Merit Selection

    October 28, 2009

    The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform examined the various state merit selection practices for fairness, effectiveness and independence. Arizona leads the nation with the procedures it has put in place to fulfill the promise of true nonpartisan "merit" selection. This document describes what we believe are the "best practices" that have come from the writings of legal experts in this area and from the real-world Arizona experience. Read More

  • ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

    ILR Research Review - Fall 2017

    November 30, 2017

    This special double-issue of the ILR Research Review features a wealth of insight and analysis on the world's rapidly changing litigation environment. The research contained in this issue targets exploitative litigation at home and abroad, examining numerous developments ranging from hyper-aggressive trial lawyer advertising in the U.S. to the imminent expansion of class actions in Europe. Read More

All Results for Judicial Selection

  1. In the News Today - September 4, 2018

    September 04, 2018 | News

    Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Begin Today... Read More

  2. "Keep Reforming Missouri Lawsuit Abuse in 2018"

    February 05, 2018 | News

    An op-ed from Manhattan Institute leaders called on Missouri legislators to "build on last year's successes" to rid the state of "its 'Sue Me State' reputation."... Read More

  3. In the News Today - May 9, 2017

    May 09, 2017 | News and Blog

    Yesterday, Trump named five new nominees to the general appellate courts and five to the district courts. According to the Wall Street Journal, "prompt Senate action on the nominations is important – not least because the number of vacancies on the federal bench is around 129." ... Read More

  4. Florida Judicial Terms Limits: An Idea So Bad, Both Business and the Plaintiffs' Bar Agree

    April 24, 2017 | News and Blog

    Let's face it: it's a rare occasion when the trial bar and business groups agree on anything. So rare, in fact, that the Sun Sentinel's Editorial Board compared it to the Chicago Cubs' historic World Series drought. ... Read More

  5. In the News Today - November 15, 2016

    November 15, 2016 | News and Blog

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program is likely to continue, bolstered by a $20 million award announced Monday, experts said, despite the newly elected Trump administration's threats to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act that created the program in 2011.... Read More

  6. Fourth District faces question whether judges have option to run for election over retention

    March 28, 2016 | News and Blog

    For the first time since three St. Clair County judges resigned their seats only to rerun for them to avoid a retention vote, a court whose judges owe their jobs to voters will decide whether the Illinois Constitution lets this move stand.... Read More

  7. In the News Today - March 8, 2016

    March 08, 2016 | News and Blog

    Law schools exaggerating alumni employment figures?: Today marks the first day of Anna Alaburda's case against the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. The case is the first of its kind to go to trial. ... Read More

  8. In the News Today - March 4, 2016

    March 04, 2016 | News and Blog

    Illinois Judicial Ratings Released: The Illinois Civil Justice League released its ratings of Illinois judges and found that "three judges in St. Clair County (IL) received the lowest rating, 'not recommended.'"... Read More

  9. Legal Reform Summit Calls for Jobs, Not Lawsuits

    October 28, 2009 | Press Release

    Calling the next few years a transformational time that could define the future of our civil justice system, speakers at the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform's (ILR) 10th Annual Legal Reform Summit urged U.S. decision makers to consider the costs of expanding liability for job creators during the economic recovery.... Read More

  10. Promoting Merit in Merit Selection

    October 28, 2009 | Research

    The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform examined the various state merit selection practices for fairness, effectiveness and independence. Arizona leads the nation with the procedures it has put in place to fulfill the promise of true nonpartisan "merit" selection. This document describes what we believe are the "best practices" that have come from the writings of legal experts in this area and from the real-world Arizona experience.... Read More