LETTER: PA LWV supports merit selection of judges

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is known for our support of clean, fair and accessible elections and our focus on ensuring every voter has access to the ballot box. But it’s not enough for elections to be fair and accessible, they also must be in the best interests of the people.

Judicial elections treat judges like politicians and bring partisan politics and millions of dollars into the equation for choosing judges. That is why we support House Bill 1336 regarding merit selection of statewide, appellate court judges.

Judges and other elected officials serve very different roles. Elected officials are elected to represent their constituents and make decisions in the best interests of the people they represent. Judges are different. Judges do not have constituents; they are responsible for upholding the law and protecting the constitution. They must make decisions based on the law and the facts of the case before them. They cannot take into account public opinion or the will of political parties.

Merit selection of appellate court judges recognizes this fundamental difference and focuses on the qualifications of the potential judge rather than their ability to fundraise or to make the right political connections.

It’s past time for merit selection in Pennsylvania. We hope that legislators will support HB1336.


Board president,

League of Women Voters of PA