"Another chance for judicial reform" is the title of San Antonio Express-News Editorial Page Editor Bruce Davidson's column in today's paper. LINK
Under Texas' system of partisan elections, judges are forced to hustle contributions to stay on the bench, particularly in statewide races.
It's difficult to believe that a judge can disregard contributions from lawyers and litigants appearing in his court.
While no system is perfect or completely free of politics, merit selection with retention elections is the reform that makes the most sense. Under that system, the governor would appoint judges, who ideally would be screened by a nonpartisan legal panel. Senate confirmation would be required.
After serving a term, a judge would be required to face voters in an up-or-down vote.
Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips spent his entire career on the high court pushing reforms for judicial selection, but was stymied by both Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Legislature.