The Senate State Affairs Committee will hear two approaches to judicial selection reform at its hearing on Monday, April 1. SJR 34 and SB 577 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) establish an “appoint-elect-retain” system for selecting state district and appellate judges and justices. Under the proposal, a judge or justice would initially stand for office in a partisan election, followed by periodic retention elections thereafter. In the event of a vacancy, the gubernatorial appointee would run in the next general election in a partisan ballot, with subsequent retention elections. TCJL has historically supported this approach as the best way to balance the public policy objectives of an independent, accountable, and qualified judiciary and will register support at Monday’s hearing.

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