16 November 2009

Study Report: W.Va. Needs New Court, Public Financing Pilot

West Virginia's Independent Commission on Judicial Reform has recommended a half-dozen or so changes to the state's court system, including the addition of a midlevel appeals bench and a pilot program for the public funding of judicial candidates, The Associated Press reports.

The public financing pilot would affect candidates running for one of two Supreme Court seats on the 2012 ballot. The intermediate appeals court would hear certain cases filed with and assigned by the high court, with its six to nine judges sitting on panels of three.

"The report also recommends that the secretary of state publish voter guides on judicial candidates; that the Legislature continue efforts to regulate independent spending in their races; and that the state study a special court for complex, highly technical disputes between businesses," AP reports.

"But beyond that pilot funding program and allowing the governor to appoint the new court's initial judges, (the report) does not recommend any major changes to how the state elects its judges and justices through partisan balloting," the article continues. "It instead urges state lawmakers to wait until the terms of those appointees expire before deciding a permanent selection method. The Legislature should also adopt into law the informal practice of Manchin and his recent predecessors, where advisory committees recommend nominees when judicial vacancies arise, it said."

The commission, appointed by Gov. Joe Manchin and featuring retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as its honorary chair, has posted its report.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A full employment act for lawyers!