The Arizona Supreme Court Rejects Law Allowing the Governor More Choices In Filling Judicial Vacancies

In Dobson v. Statethe Court struck down legislation that enabled the governor greater influence in selecting judges.  The law in question (HB 2600), allows the judicial commission to submit at least five persons for nomination to the governor.  The Court struck down the law because it conflicted directly with State’s Constitution that provides that the commission will nominate no less than three persons for each judicial vacancy, unless a majority of the commission votes to nominate additional persons. (See Ariz. Const. art. 6, Secs 36(D), 37(A).

Opponents of the legislation are hailing the decision as a victory for the integrity of the judicial system and helps shield it from political influence.  However, is this really true?  If judges are nominated by a committee, aren’t those members political beliefs going to influence their nominates?