Now is the Time to Let the Voters Decide

An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer highlights the fact that special interest groups that oppose Merit Selection legislation have betrayed the voters whose rights they claim to protect:
 
"[T]he trial lawyers, unions, gun-rights advocates, and abortion foes who continue to oppose reforms that would take appellate-court judges out of partisan elections achieved their victory by denying voters the very chance to air their views."
 
Changing to Merit Selection requires a constitutional amendment, a long process that culminates in a referendum, a vote of the people.  In other words, only the voters can change how we select appellate court judges.
 
"Contrast that open and democratic proposal with what happened as special-interest groups lobbied lawmakers with the apparent view that elections are the surest way to pick jurists favorable to them."
 
Last week, the Merit Selection legislation was tabled in a narrow procedural vote in the House Judiciary Committee; the bill never received an up-down vote and did not get an opportunity to reach the whole House.
 
"Voters should be furious with such legislative bullying, given that the statewide reform group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts says more than nine out of 10 state residents want the chance to vote on the issue. As PMC and other supporters of merit selection — including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and Philadelphia Bar Association — realize, judicial elections undermine public trust in the courts because candidates raise money from lawyers and other interest groups that may appear before them."
 
The editorial  concludes with disbelief that the voters are not being given the opportunity to decide this issue, despite a sitting Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice having been indicted for alleged violations of campaign laws:
 
"How anyone could defend a system of picking judges that produces corruption of the type alleged against Melvin is a mystery. Even more troubling is the fact that powerful forces in the state don’t even want to let voters make up their own minds on this critical court reform."
 
We agree: it is time to let the voters decide.