JAS: Nonpartisan Screening Commission Would Bolster Confidence in Impartial Michigan Court
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 8, 2013 — Justice at Stake Executive Director Bert Brandenburg made the following statement on Tuesday about the process for filling a new vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court:
“Gov. Rick Snyder could help bolster confidence in fair and impartial courts by taking a page from the report of a bipartisan Michigan judicial selection task force.
“The task force asked Gov. Snyder to set up a nonpartisan advisory commission when a vacancy occurs on the Michigan Supreme Court. The commission would screen candidates and recommend three to five highly qualified applicants, and the governor would appoint one. More than 30 other states have a similar process for filling interim high court vacancies.
“The task force wanted to avoid the perception that raw politics would predominate when a governor makes a vacancy appointment. It said a nonpartisan advisory commission ‘would restore the public’s confidence in the Governor’s vacancy appointments to the supreme court.’ It was a good idea when the task force report came out last April and it’s a good idea now.”