Tennessee’s Indefensible “Merit” Selection Plan
August 30, 2012
Former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers has an op-ed that defends the state’s indefensible “merit” selection plan by arguing that judicial elections in the pre-“merit” selection days weren’t really decided by voters, but by Democratic Party bigwigs who decided which judges to put on the ballot. I’ll defer to Summers’ memory of Democratic Party insider dealing.
But is it really convincing to argue that just because voters 40 years ago were mere pawns for the Democratic political machine that they’ve sacrificed the right to vote for judges in perpetuity? Does the weakness of the citizenry, in Summers’ view, four decades ago really condemn their children and grandchildren to having no say in choosing their public servants on the bench? In a democracy, the people don’t always choose wisely – an opinion I reckon will be shared by about half the voters on November 6. But just because they don’t always choose wisely doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to choose at all.