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Rep.Allison, Steve

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Rep. Allison Files House Bill 3061 Regarding Judicial Selection  print page

by: Rep. Allison, Steve
03/12/2019

Rep. Allison Files House Bill 3061 Regarding Judicial Selection

AUSTIN—Rep. Steve Allison has filed House Bill 3061, which creates an interim commission and study regarding the method by which certain trial and appellate judges are selected.

“Texas is one of the few states that still elects its judges, but our judicial election system is inherently flawed, subjecting judges, who are charged to be impartial, to a costly and divisive partisan election process, including partisan electioneering and seeking financial contributions from attorneys and parties who may appear before them. As we have experienced in recent election cycles, under our present system, voters, knowing almost nothing about the numerous down-ballot judicial candidates, take good judges out of office due solely to political party affiliation. We need to strive for a merit system. Ensuring our state has experienced judges is critical to the fair and predictable legal system that makes our economy strong. This bill authorizes a study by a diverse, bipartisan interim commission to review this critical issue so we can make an informed decision about the best way to select our judges,” Rep. Allison said. As stated by Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in advocating for a change in our judicial selection process in his recent State of the Judiciary address: "…partisan election is among the very worst methods of judicial selection," adding, "…partisan sweeps are demoralizing to judges, disruptive to the legal system, and degrading to the administration of justice.

The study would include statutory county court judges, including probate court judges; district judges; justices of the courts of appeal; justices of the Court of Criminal Appeals and justices of the Supreme Court of Texas. The commission will consider the fairness, effectiveness and desirability of selecting judges through appointment elections or other means and the merits of the current and alternative methods of judicial selection, among other issues.

The commission will be comprised of Texans appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court and president of the State Bar of Texas.

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