As I See It
A better way to seat Supreme Court judges
Perhaps there is a better way. Wisconsin voters went to the polls yesterday in a primary race for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The top two vote-getters earn a spot on the April ballot, which is being described by some as the most important election in the country this year. That is because the April race will determine if the court’s conservative majority holds or flips to liberal control as it is expected to hear cases involving gerrymandering of legislative districts and the state’s laws regulating abortion. As a result of the high stakes, millions of dollars will be flowing into the contest between now and April, much of it from out of state. We have seen the ads become increasingly nasty over the years, and we have seen more of them since the 2008 decision when campaign finance limits were tossed aside. Perhaps a better system is to follow the lead of other states, where voters don’t choose the members of the Supreme Court. 23 states use a judicial nominating process to select the judges to serve on their state’s highest courts. Under that scenario, a nonpartisan judicial nominating commission submits a list of nominees for the governor to choose from. That would keep the big money out of the race, do away with those nasty ads, and make the whole process of selecting Supreme Court candidates look a lot less slimy and a lot more judicial.
Michael J Rosborough
February 22, 2023 at 11:09 am
Electing versus appointing judges and justices has been studied endlessly with the conclusion that all selection methods are infected by politics; i.e., there are no nonpartisan systems.