Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Judicial Selection Revisited

The current hue and cry is for a review of our judicial system, its independence and its efficiency. The first thing that comes to mind among the majority of my colleagues is that we need to institute a "merit" system for the appointment of judges. I totally disagree. I think appointment of judges is just another avenue for perpetuating political favoritism.
The traditional method was to permit the election of judges and give the public some input into the judicial system. However, when politics squirmed itself inside the system , judicial "elections" became tainted, partisan and in some cases, political scandals. The usual knee-jerk reaction is for "well-meaning" groups to dump the system and set up a new format for appointing judges.
What happened to our focus on "we the people" or public participation or democratic involvement? If the current system is not working because of corrupt politicians, why penalize the public? If anything, we need even stronger public participation. The public needs to have an open conversation about the dynamics of judicial selection to create the fair and honest system it was intended to be. If the various interest groups (both lay and legal) get what they want, the power and control will remain driven by special interests.
Think about this: you either take responsibility to create the kind of judicial system that works for all of us, or sit back and watch others give you the kind of judicial system that works for them.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Video Interview On Public Outreach

Judge Eileen Nadelson of NYC speaks about an innovative program that will serve to resolve problems before they end up in court. During this interview on June 29th, 2006, the Judge discussed areas where the government and communities could be MORE EMPOWERED to resolve critical issues today through conversations and alternative actions.

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