November 16, 2009
Clean Elections Update
Judicial Reform Commission Recommends Public Financing Pilot Project
In an encouraging development for clean elections supporters, the Governorís Judicial Reform Commission has recommended public financing as part of its reform package! The Commission was appointed by Governor Joe Manchin last spring, and tasked with making a thorough study of the judicial system in West Virginia, including the way judges are selected. The Commission held three public hearings over the course of the summer, and discussed a variety of topics, among them the creation of an intermediate appellate court, merit selection for judges, non-partisan judicial elections, campaign financing reforms, and the possibility of a business court.
The Commissionís recommendations include legislation to establish a public financing pilot project for one of the two Supreme Court seats that will be up for re-election in 2012. The Commission noted that the increasing amount of money spent in Supreme Court campaigns, both by candidates and by third parties, could lead to public perception that justice can be bought.
Legislation to create a similar pilot project was introduced in 2009 (S311) by steadfast clean elections ally Senator Jeffrey Kessler (D-Marshall), and received favorable attention. WV Citizens for Clean Elections supported that bill, and will continue to work diligently to see that a pilot project for public financing is established.
A summary of the Commissionís recommendations appears in the following news article:
For the Judicial Reform Commissionís full report:
WV Citizens for Clean Elections