Supreme Court trailblazer shares concern about judicial election system

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By Carol A. Clark

ALBUQUERQUE—The current climate of corrupt judges in the news concerns retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. O’Connor spent Thursday evening discussing this topic and others at the Albuquerque Convention Center’s Kiva Auditorium. The audience was filled with students, educators, New Mexico’s legal community and state, local and philanthropic leaders.Referring to campaigning judges accepting money from lawyers, she said, “The collection of money from lawyers who go before you – not good.” O’Connor advocates a merit selection process rather than public election, saying there is “too much cash in the courtroom.” A merit selection process where by a committee recommends qualified individuals to governors for two year terms followed by review and re-appointment based on merit is the way O’Connor wants to see the system reformed. In her home state of Arizona, voters passed the merit system and the state has grown to have the finest slate of judges of any state, she said.

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