Prop 115 harms judicial selection
A recent Yuma Sun editorial about Proposition 115 closed with the comment that “we see nothing wrong” with the ballot measure.
I must disagree as there are many things wrong with Proposition 115.
Proposition 115 would amend the current merit selection procedure for judges, which is working well, and would politicize the selection of judges.
While Proposition 115 gives the governor more choices, it also allows all of the choices to be from one political party. The selection of judges should include candidates from all political parties, as the current law requires.
The increase in the number of candidates to not less than eight may also result in the diminution of the quality of the those chosen. Under the existing merit selection system not less than three persons are nominated for each vacancy thereby assuring that only the most qualified are nominated.
Proposition 115 allows the Legislature to require judges to appear at committee hearings to question the judge’s decisions. This would have a chilling effect on the independence of the judiciary and negatively impact the traditional separation of powers between the three branches of government.
Retired Arizona Supreme Court justices, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and many others oppose Proposition 115.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Arizona’s current merit selection system as a model for all states and the Arizona Town Hall has said that it is good for Arizona.
The bottom line is that our current system is working well and the proposed changes would not benefit the citizens of Arizona. We must not politicize the judicial branch of our government.
Thomas G. Kelly III