Merit Plan Pros And Cons

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The Merit Plan
Judges in the state of Nevada ascend to their positions through an election by the citizens of Nevada. “In 2007 and 2009, the legislature approved a proposed constitutional amendment calling for merit selection of Nevada judges.”(JudicialSelection.US) The Merit plan, is a system of appointing judges through bipartisan commissions who forward the lists of shortlisted candidates to the appointing authority to pick from the list. This is followed by periodic votes by the electorate to determine whether these judges will be retained. The Merit plan, or Missouri plan, has its origins in the state of Missouri in 1940.The two systems of selecting judges both have their strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths of Nevada's System of Electing …show more content…

Proponents of Nevada's system of electing judges have argued that competitive election of judges is the most democratic way of ensuring that judges remain accountable to the people. Proponents add that elections affirm the electoral beliefs of candidates who present themselves for judicial positions. These arguments rest on the reality that judges cannot be politically neutral in their personal capacities. Rather than conceal the political penchants of judicial candidates, it is better to have them known. Such political inclinations can only be known through campaigns that precede judicial elections. Nevada's system of electing judges can, therefore, be praised for being democratic. Some of the founding fathers of the U.S. such as Thomas Jefferson argued that exempting judges from the election was dangerous because the ultimate power of the society is vested in the people. By comparison, the merit system is seen to be undemocratic in excluding the citizens from the appointment of judges in the first …show more content…

The appointment of judges has become clearly political. It is not uncommon to hear of candidates making statements with regards to contested political issues as well as the use of partisan language. According to (Bannon, 10) “For neutral arbiters, this heightened political temperature risks exacerbating pressures to decide cases based on political loyalty or expediency, rather than on their understanding of the law.” The selection of judges through popular election therefore suffers serious flaws since the electorate tend to base their decisions on charm instead of serious determinants. The results can be that the person elected as a judge turns out to be one who falls short of the glory of this office in terms of experience, legal training and education. This especially true for cases where citizens have elected the most moneyed judge rather than the most qualified

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