Nonpartisan, knowledgeable judicial selection is possible for Pa.

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It should be obvious that Pennsylvania needs to improve the way we select judges. Dr. Cyril Wecht's recent letter regarding judicial selection ("Judicial Selection Will Always Involve Some Form of Politics," July 3) critiqued the idea of judicial appointments as overtly political without considering any process for the vetting of potential judicial candidates.

Proposals put forward by various organizations, and supported by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, would create a very different process by providing for the creation of a nonpartisan panel of knowledgeable citizens representing various constituencies who would recommend candidates for appointment by the governor.

This would change selection from a strictly political action to one of serious consideration of the candidates' educational and professional qualifications as well as "judicial temperament." This procedure avoids the unsavory and increasing costs of elections while maintaining the involvement of voters in the makeup of the panel and calling for a retention election after the judge has been appointed and has served for a period.

Between scandals in the system and the fact that Pennsylvania's judicial elections are among the costliest in the country, change is seriously needed. Pennsylvania is one of only six states that elect all their judges in partisan elections. This is a distinction we should not be proud of.

League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh



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