Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Judging Judges

Pennsylvania has one lousy way of selecting judges.

Judging Judges

In a few weeks, most Pennsylvania voters will not go to the polls to pick judges.

Four years ago, less than 11 percent of the Philadelphia electorate voted, and that was with a contested D.A.'s race. Which we surely don't have this year. Did you even know that Seth Williams was up for reelection?

There are so many candidates running for the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court, not to mention the diaster of Traffic Court (which state legislators are trying to blow up but perhaps not in time for fall's general election), that it's even more important to review the Philadelphia Bar Association's list of recommended and not recommended candidates.

The first round of ratings was released Tuesday. 

After an extensive vetting process, what's most revealing is that almost as many candidates were not endorsed as were. Yet voters tend to pick judges on some lousy criteria: Ballot position, name familiarity (gee, that sort of sounds like my name), or the tribal idea of voting for woman because you're a woman.

We don't need more lousy judges.

More on our broken system of electing judges in Wednesday's column.

--Karen Heller

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