Judicial selection reform a priority in Arizona
Arizona: The Republican majority in the Arizona Legislature has introduced eleven bills this session that would amend the state's methods of judicial selection. The bills specifically deal with Maricopa and Pima counties, which currently use a system of Commission selection appointment for their Superior Courts. Using this method, the nominating commission chooses three candidates to send to the governor, who appoints a judge to the court. 
Five of the eleven bills are still active. They are:
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 1045: Voters would decide whether to restrict the Arizona Bar Association's power to select members of the nominating commission.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 1040: Voters would decide whether to restrict the Arizona Bar Association's power to select members of the nominating commission and mandate Senate confirmation of the governor's selection.
- Senate Bill 1482: The Commission on Judicial Performance Review would be forced to post decisions of appellate court judges up for retention on its website.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 1047: Voters would decide whether to make public the meetings of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct.
- Senate Bill 1472: Members of the public would be able to submit arguments for or against retention in the official voter pamphlet publications.
These resolutions and bills are at varying stages in the legislative process. SCR 1045 and SCR 1040 have made it out of committee, SB 1482 and SCR 1047 have passed in the Arizona Senate and have been forwarded to the House, and SB 1472 is on its way to the Senate for debate. 
Critics of these proposals say that involving the Senate in the selection process compromises the independence of the judiciary. Also, the resolutions basically will replace merit selection with judicial elections. The CEO of the Arizona State Bar Association says, "And if you're going to look for the best qualified legal professionals and legal minds - and isn't that what we all want in the courtroom - then wouldn't you want lawyers who are practicing in these roles to have a say?" 
|This article was written by Katy Farrell, the Editor of Judgepedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|