Advocates for a new way of selecting Appellate Court judges in Pennsylvania say the one statewide contest for Superior Court underscores their case that voters have too little information to responsibly elect judges.
The advocacy group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts has been pushing to replace elections with judicial merit selection.
Under the proposed system, appellate judges would be vetted by an independent commission, nominated by the governor, and confirmed by the state Senate. They would face voters in retention elections.
It’s not just that people have too little information to elect appellate court judges, said Lynn Marks, group director.
“Judicial elections are just increasingly expensive and the real problem is that most of the money for judicial elections comes from attorneys and interest groups who often appear in state court and that’s just not right,” she said.
The website Politics PA reported last week that Jack McVay Jr., the Democratic candidate for Superior Court. has raised more than $48,000 and spent about $15,000.
The site reported Vic Stabile, the Republican candidate, has raised more than $81,000 and spent more than $68,000.
The Pennsylvania Bar Association has issued a stern reprimand of Stabile for running what the group calls a misleading ad about McVay.
That’s the most coverage the race has gotten from the newspapers in some time, Marks said.
“There seems to be more coverage of things like that as opposed to … whether these people are qualified or not,” she said.