Judge Selection System in Texas: An Evaluation

Judicial applicants must submit their applications through a commission, which consist of mostly public members (Leshy, 37). In the commission, all members assess the applications and scrutinize the applicant’s qualifications. After this, the commission meets to agree which candidate will be summoned for interview. Prior to the interview, the commission receives any complaint, compliment or objection from the public, concerning the selected applicants, for vetting purposes. After the interviews, a closed-door meeting is held by the commission to decide which candidates to recommend to the Governor.

It shall be made a constitutional requirement for the commissions to submit six names (three names for trial judges and three names for the appellate judges) to the Governor for formal judicial appointment. Consideration will be given to ethnic diversity and gender balance among the six nominees. The primary consideration in this design system is merit – the applicant’s professional qualifications. Currently, the Constitution provides that part of the nominees for trial and appellate in any given list can be members of a similar political party.

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Once the judges are appointed, there will be a periodic retention election, which means the voters will decide if they go on with their job on the bench or go home. With significant input from litigants, court staff, attorneys, and jurors, Judicial Performance Review Commission evaluate the performance of every judge to ascertain whether he or she has been meeting judicial performance set standards. The information regarding the retention assessment is then made public by the commission before the retention election. Individual judges will only be allowed to continue serving if they get authorization by the majority of voters.

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