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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136166 Find in a Library
Title: Politics of Innovation in State Courts: The Merit Plan of Judicial Selection
Journal: Journal of Federalism  Volume:20  Dated:(Winter 1990)  Pages:23-42
Author(s): P L Dubois
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A study was conducted on the implementation of merit judicial selection in approximately half of the States between 1958 and 1976.
Abstract: The Merit Plan calls for the appointment of judges by the governor from a short list of nominees submitted by a panel of lawyers and lay persons who assess each candidate's qualifications. The individual selected from the list serves for a short period and then faces a retention election by the electorate for service of a full term. Although proposed in 1914, the plan was not adopted by any State until Missouri adopted it in 1940; then it was ignored for 18 years. Particular attention in this study is focused on the relationship between reapportionment in several States and the Merit Plan, especially as a strategic initiative launched by rural political interests. However, an examination of historical documents and empirical data relating to the reform campaigns in each State and the legislative and popular sponsorship for the plan suggests that the political basis for the plan and related court reforms find their basis in urban areas. The implications of these findings are further explored regarding the study of court-related innovations. 64 notes and references.
Main Term(s): Judge selection; State courts
Index Term(s): Comparative analysis; Court reform; Rural urban comparisons
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