A group advocating the appointment of appellate judges appealed for Pennsylvania to alter our system of electing these officials. Pennsylvanians For Modern Courts points to the $8 million spent on last year's Supreme Court contests as an example of how money and campaigns can influence this important process.
"The proposed legislation would create a 14-member public commission to screen applicants for a list of potential nominees for the governor to consider. The governor would submit a choice from that list to the Senate, and judges who get confirmed would face an up-or-down retention election four years later and every decade afterward.
The group proposes merit selection for Supreme Court justices and judges on the Superior and Commonwealth courts. County judges would remain elected."
I read John Grisham's latest book "The Appeal" recently and it does a masterful job of advocating for such a policy and provides a riveting story of how the public interest can be jeopardized by special interests controlling courts through elections. Grisham's tale begins with a Mississippi town devastated by a chemical company which poisoned their water. As townspeople begin getting cancer and dying a local couple, both lawyers, sue the giant corporation.
After securing a $41 million verdict the CEO of the corporation sets out to rig the upcoming state Supreme Court election so as to overturn the verdict. I won't let on to the ending you'll have to read the book.