Select a State:

History of Reform Efforts

Active Organizations


Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Alabama Appleseed is examining research already done in Alabama on the state of judicial elections, and is formulating recommendations for reform that will best address the myriad of competing interests that have produced gridlock on this issue in the past.

Alabama State Bar
With the assistance of the American Judicature Society, the Alabama State Bar convened citizen's conferences on the courts in 1966, 1973, and 1995. In the 1990s, the bar created a task force on judicial selection to study the increase in judicial election campaign expenditures and the appearance of bias associated with campaign contributions, and a task force on judicial elections to make recommendations on judicial campaign conduct.

League of Women Voters of Alabama


Alaska Bar Association

Alaska League of Women Voters


League of Women Voters of Arizona

State Bar of Arizona


Arkansas Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Arkansas


League of Women Voters of California

State Bar of California


Colorado Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Colorado

Colorado Judicial Institute
Founded in 1979, the Colorado Judicial Institute is a non-profit organization "dedicated to furthering public understanding of the Colorado judicial system and preserving and enhancing the independence and excellence of the Colorado courts." In 1984, 1986, and 1988, the CJI distributed statewide a voters' guide that provided biographical and other pertinent information about judges seeking retention. Also in the early 1980s, the CJI conducted a pilot program that evaluated trial judges in a single judicial district. This program was the precursor to the performance evaluation program established by the general assembly in 1988. In 1997, the CJI conducted a survey of past and present judicial nominating commissioners in the state to determine whether the commissions were operating in accordance with the objectives of the merit selection system. The CJI operates a 501(c)(4) corporation that can engage in political activities, including the raising of funds to counter those who seek judicial term limits or a return to judicial elections. The corporation coordinates its efforts with the Colorado Bar Association and other concerned organizations. In 2006, CJI was active in the opposition to Amendment 40, which would have imposed retroactive ten-year term limits for appellate judges.


Connecticut Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Connecticut


Delaware State Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Delaware

District of Columbia

District of Columbia Bar




Florida Bar
Several months before the general election, the Florida Bar produces a pamphlet that explains the merit selection and retention process and includes photographs and biographical information for appellate court judges standing for retention.

League of Women Voters of Florida


Democracy South/Georgia Project
Democracy South is a network of state-based organizations in the Southeast that recognize the importance of electoral and campaign-finance reforms for achieving fundamental progress in other areas, such as environmental protection and economic justice. Each of the affiliated organizations has directly experienced the barrier political money presents to enacting progressive policies or electing leaders who lack access to wealthy special interests. Democracy South's fundamental goal is a more democratic society that makes real the promise of "one person, one vote." Members of the coalition include, among others, the Georgia Project of Democracy South, the League of Women Voters of Georgia, and Common Cause Georgia.

League of Women Voters of Georgia

State Bar of Georgia


Hawaii State Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Hawaii


Idaho State Bar
In response to the highly politicized election contest in 2000 between Justice Cathy Silak and Judge (now Justice) Dan Eismann, the Idaho State Bar created a committee on judicial independence to study the issues that arose during the election and to make recommendations for future judicial elections.

League of Women Voters of Idaho



Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice
Chicago Appleseed has been serving as a consultant to Oklahoma, Kansas, and Alabama Appleseed as they design and carry out their work, based on the extensive judicial financing research it has already done in Cook County, Illinois.

Citizen Action/Illinois
Citizen Action/Illinois is the state's largest public interest organization and a progressive political coalition committed to creating social change both in Illinois and across the nation. The organization is based on several core values: a belief that every human life has equal worth, that the purpose of our society is to allow all its members to live meaningful and fulfilling lives, and that there is a collective good beyond our individual interests. It seeks to promote and win public policies that reflect these values and embody social justice, but recognizes that winning justice requires political power. It exists to create that power by being a values-based, issue-oriented political center in Illinois.

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
Founded in 1997 by former Senator Paul Simon and Lieutenant Governor Bob Kustra, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform works on a non-partisan basis to reform Illinois' political process, to reduce the influence of special interest money on public institutions and restore voters to their rightful place at the center of state government.

Illinois State Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Illinois

Protestants for the Common Good


Indiana State Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Indiana


Iowa State Bar Association
Since 1962, the Iowa State Bar Association has polled its members on how they would vote in judicial retention elections. In 2000, the bar expanded its poll, allowing attorneys who had appeared before each judge to do a detailed performance review. Judges are rated on a variety of factors, including knowledge of the law, objectivity, judicial temperament, trial management, and clarity of writing. Judges are also rated on their professional manner towards witnesses, jurors, lawyers, and court personnel and on how they treat individuals “regardless of race, sex, age, national origin or religion.” This detailed assessment allows voters to make an informed decision about whether to retain judicial candidates. Poll results are made available prior to each election on the bar's website.

League of Women Voters of Iowa


Johnson Countians for Justice
Johnson Countians for Justice is a non-partisan committee dedicated to keeping special interest politics out of the courts. In 2008, the committee mounted a successful campaign in opposition to a ballot initiative that would have replaced merit selection of Johnson County judges with partisan elections.

Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Kansas Appleseed is researching a number of aspects of state judicial elections. Because the state appoints its appellate bench and half of its district court bench, Kansas Appleseed is comparing the elected and appointed benches. It is also investigating the toll that politicking takes on judges in elected counties, including the funding sources for judicial elections and the work that the judge must do as a candidate. Finally, Kansas Appleseed is interested in how voters perceive judicial elections and what factors sway them in choosing judicial candidates.

Kansas Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Kansas
The Kansas League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, grassroots, volunteer and political organization with eight local Leagues across the state. For 85 years, the Kansas league has encouraged the informed and active participation of citizens in government and have influenced public policy through education and advocacy. As a non-partisan organization, the League of Women Voters of Kansas does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.


Common Cause Kentucky

Kentucky Bar Association

League of Women Voters of Kentucky


League of Women Voters of Louisiana
The Louisiana LWV supports a merit selection system for judges that is fair, objective, and representative of Louisiana citizens.

Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence
The Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence (LOJE) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization formed in 1986 to improve the justice system in Louisiana by offering alternatives to judicial elections.

Louisiana State Bar Association



Maine State Bar Association
In January 2002, the Maine State Bar Association adopted a judicial evaluation policy calling for the evaluation of judges during the the sixth year of each judge's term. The evaluations are used by the bar to take a position on whether the judge should be renominated. (Confidential evaluations are also conducted during the second year of a judge's initial term to allow the judge to assess his or her performance.) The MSBA's judicial evaluation committee consists of seven members appointed by the bar president to three-year terms. Based on the results of written surveys disseminated to all Maine attorneys, the committee prepares a report on each judge for the MSBA's board of governors. The bar then makes a recommendation as to whether a judge is qualified for renomination.


League of Women Voters of Maryland

Maryland State Bar Association
In 2003, the Maryland State Bar Association voted to reaffirm its opposition to contested judicial elections, a position it has maintained for over three decades. The bar favors retention elections, rather than contested elections, for circuit court judges.


Massachusetts Bar Association


League of Women Voters of Michigan
The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Michigan Campaign Finance Network
The Michigan Campaign Finance Network is a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition of organizations and individuals concerned about the influence of money in politics and the need for campaign finance reform in Michigan. MCFN conducts research on campaign contributions and their relationship to election outcomes and issues of public policy, supports access to campaign finance information and develops educational initiatives for the public on the subject of campaign finance reform.

State Bar of Michigan


League of Women Voters Minnesota
The League of Women Voters of Minnesota supports the current judicial selection system, with certain modifications: judicial candidates should be required to have at least five years experience as a practicing attorney; the state should publish voter information on judicial candidates; and the governor should be required to appoint judges from the nominees provided by the commission on judicial selection. The league is opposed to allowing candidates to accept and use political party endorsements and to removing the incumbency designation from judicial ballots. In 1998, the league published a study of Minnesota's judicial selection process, Choosing Minnesota's Judges: An Examination of the Present System and Alternative Proposals. In 2001, the league sponsored a program entitled "Selecting Judges in Minnesota" in conjunction with the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

Minnesota Citizens Commission for the Preservation of an Impartial Judiciary
This commission, chaired by Governor Al Quie, is an independent citizens group composed of individuals of diverse backgrounds in law, politics, business, labor, and academics. The commission was created in February 2006 to review and make recommendations concerning the method of selection of Minnesota's state court judges. The commission released its final report and recommendations, available online, in March 2007.

Minnesota State Bar Association
In 2000, the MSBA adopted a resolution urging political parties to stay out of judicial elections, describing party endorsements as a "significant threat to judicial independence and impartiality and to public confidence in the integrity of the judicial system." The bar formed a judicial elections committee to study the process and make recommendations for change.

Minnesotans for Impartial Courts
Minnesotans for Impartial Courts is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation dedicated to keeping Minnesota’s courts independent and accountable by preventing special interest, partisan consideration, and campaign contributions from influencing the selection and retention of Minnesota’s judges.


League of Women Voters of Mississippi

Mississippi Bar
The Mississippi Bar was active in supporting the 2002 ballot proposal that would have lengthened the terms of chancery and circuit court judges from four to six years. The bar's leadership endorsed the amendment, and the bar undertook an advertising campaign to support its passage. The proposed amendment failed by a 61-39 margin.


Greene Countians for Fair and Impartial Judges
In 2008, Greene Countians for Fair and Impartial Judges mounted a successful campaign to bring the Nonpartisan Court Plan to Greene County.

League of Women Voters of Missouri

Missouri Bar
In the 1990 election, the average affirmative percentage for judicial retention candidates dropped to 59%, perhaps in response to the controversies of the early 1980s. Affirmative retention percentages had been declining slowly but steadily since 1976, when the average affirmative vote was 83%. Worried that a persistence in this trend would result in the removal of qualified judges and would discourage qualified candidates from seeking judicial office, the Missouri Bar began a public education campaign to provide information about Missouri's judicial system to the media and the general public. Bar officers and Missouri judges appeared on radio and television talk shows and visited with newspaper editorial boards throughout the state. The bar also developed and distributed a brochure, "Voting for Missouri's Judges," to familiarize voters with the selection process and the proper role of judges.

In 1992, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association conducted the first statewide evaluation of judges standing for retention. Evaluation results are published and distributed in a booklet called "Voters' Information About Judges," along with a photograph and biographical information for each judge. The booklet is also available online.

Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts
Missourians for Fair and Impartial Courts is a broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals formed in 2007 to protect Missouri courts from political attacks and preserve the nonpartisan court plan.


League of Women Voters of Montana

State Bar of Montana


League of Women Voters of Nebraska

Nebraska State Bar Association
The Nebraska State Bar Association endorsed a merit selection plan for Nebraska judges in 1951 and continued to push for merit selection until its adoption in 1962. In 1984, the bar's judiciary committee began evaluating Nebraska judges. Attorneys complete surveys on judges standing for retention with whom they have had professional contact. The survey asks respondents to rate judges on a number of criteria and includes a question on whether the judge should be retained. The results of the evaluation are made available to the public. Following the campaign to unseat Justice Lanphier in his 1996 retention election, the bar launched a public education campaign to inform citizens about the importance of having an independent judiciary.


League of Women Voters of Nevada

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)
In 2004, PLAN published a study of campaign contributions to supreme court justices that examined whether the contributions gave the appearance of interfering with the fairness and impartiality of supreme court rulings.

State Bar of Nevada

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Bar Association

New Jersey

New Jersey State Bar Association
In 1970, the NJSBA passed a detailed resolution criticizing the practice of senatorial courtesy and urging the adoption of a constitutional amendment that would require all judicial appointments to be voted on by the senate within a reasonable period of time. In 1993, the bar filed a lawsuit challenging the practice of senatorial courtesy, but the supreme court declined to exercise jurisdiction over the issue. DeVesa v. Dorsey, 134 N.J. 429 (1993). In 2001, the NJSBA released a report entitled "Improving the Judicial Selection Process."


New Mexico

New Mexico League of Women Voters

State Bar of New Mexico
In 2006, the State Bar of New Mexico created a Fair Judicial Elections Committee.

New York

Fund for Modern Courts
Modern Courts is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice in New York. Founded in 1955, and led by concerned citizens, prominent lawyers, and business leaders, the organization works to make the court system more accessible, efficient, and user-friendly. For the last 45 years, the cornerstone of their efforts has been the need to change New York's method of selecting judges. Along with other citizen groups, Modern Courts was active in promoting the 1977 constitutional amendment that established merit selection of court of appeals judges.

League of Women Voters of New York

New York State Bar Association
In 2001, the New York State Bar Association established the Special Committee on Judicial Campaign Conduct. The committee has created model guidelines for conduct committees at the county level, a model pledge for candidates, and a brochure outlining the rules for conducting judicial campaigns. Local campaign oversight committees exist in Erie, Monroe, New York, and Onandaga Counties.

North Carolina

Common Cause/North Carolina

Democracy North Carolina
The mission of Democracy North Carolina, formerly the North Carolina Project of Democracy South, is to build a more democratic society that makes real the promise of "one person, one vote." Its research, training, organizing, and public education programs emphasize reducing the power of special-interest money and increasing the power of citizens in all aspects of the political process.

League of Women Voters of North Carolina

North Carolina Bar Association

North Carolina Center for Voter Education
The North Carolina Center for Voter Education is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to improving the quality and responsiveness of North Carolina's election system. By examining North Carolina's current system of campaign finance and election laws, and by promoting research and public discussion about the electoral process, the Center hopes to raise citizen awareness, make the election process more inclusive, and increase participation in elections.

North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections
NCVCE seeks to improve the vitality of democracy in North Carolina by enacting a voluntary public financing program for state-level candidates who earn the public's trust. A Clean Election program would encourage candidates to reject all special-interest donations and rely solely on voters for their support.

North Dakota

League of Women Voters of North Dakota

State Bar Association of North Dakota


Columbus Bar Association
The Columbus Bar Association has a program through which it rates candidates for contested judicial races in Franklin County. The bar's judiciary committee screens candidates and reviews their credentials based on answers to written questions, responses to questions during the interview process, and the candidate's experience. From the information gathered during this process, the committee assigns candidates a rating of "highly recommended," "acceptable," or "not recommended." Judges are rated prior to an annual CBA preference poll of local attorneys to determine which candidates they prefer in contested judicial races in Franklin County. The results are released for the November election. Other local bar associations also evaluate candidates, including the Akron Bar Association, Cleveland Bar Association, Cincinnati Bar Association, Cuyahoga County Bar Association, and the Toledo Bar Association.

League of Women Voters of Ohio
Founded in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Ohio has made the elimination of judicial elections a key item on its agenda. The Ohio League was actively involved in a 1938 effort to adopt a merit plan for Ohio judges, and it co-authored the 1987 proposal that was rejected by voters. In past years, the League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund (LWVOEF) has worked on several projects designed to remove the appearance of political influence on the courts. The LWVOEF’s current focus is on education as a means of facilitating reform. Their judicial independence project is designed to increase citizen interest in judicial elections, outline the shortcomings of the current judicial campaign finance system, and educate the public, the media, and legislators on the merits of reform. In 2002, the LWVOEF conducted a statewide survey of citizens' opinions about the courts and judicial campaigns.

During the 2002 judicial elections, the Ohio League organized voluntary monitoring groups throughout the state. The purpose of these groups was to bring citizens together to follow the campaign actions of candidates for the supreme court and court of appeals. The League also sponsored public forums with judicial candidates known as "Judge the Judges," and provided information about judicial candidates through DNet Ohio.

In 2003, the Ohio League, along with Chief Justice Moyer, the Ohio State Bar Association, and others, convened a one-day forum on the judicial selection process in Ohio entitled Judicial Impartiality: The Next Steps. In 2004, conveners of the forum issued a progress report with specific recommendations for reform. Recommended reforms included increasing the legal experience and training requirements for judicial offices, lengthening judicial terms, and distributing a voter guide for judicial elections.

Ohio Citizen Action
Founded in 1975, Ohio Citizen Action is Ohio's largest non-profit, non-partisan consumer and environmental advocacy group. Ohio Citizen Action has 100,000 members and campaigns on a variety of issues ranging from toxins in our environment to money in politics. The Citizens Policy Center, the research affiliate of Ohio Citizen Action, "follows the money" to judicial candidates.

Ohio State Bar Association
Since the 1920s, the Ohio State Bar Association has been been a fixture in the movement to reform judicial selection in Ohio. It was the primary actor in a 1938 effort to adopt a merit plan for Ohio judges. Along with the League of Women Voters of Ohio, the state bar authored the 1987 merit selection proposal that ultimately failed with the voters.

In the spring of 2002, the OSBA established a statewide judicial election campaign advertising monitoring committee. Candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court were asked to sign an agreement that they would conduct their campaigns in accordance with Canon 7, the committee's guidelines, and "The Higher Ground Standards of Conduct for Judicial Candidates" promulgated by The Constitution Project; take personal responsibility for their campaign materials; and publicly disavow and condemn materials issued by unauthorized sources that violate the agreement. Candidates were also asked to allow the committee to eliminate false, misleading, unfair, unethical, or illegal statements or campaign materials issued on their behalf and to submit all campaign materials for review at least 48 hours in advance of distribution. None of the four supreme court candidates in the 2002 elections signed the pledge, although each vowed to conduct a clean campaign.

In 2003, the OSBA, along with Chief Justice Moyer, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and others, convened a one-day forum on the judicial selection process in Ohio entitled Judicial Impartiality: The Next Steps. In 2004, conveners of the forum issued a progress report with specific recommendations for reform. Recommended reforms included increasing the legal experience and training requirements for judicial offices, lengthening judicial terms, and distributing a voter guide for judicial elections.


League of Women Voters of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
The Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice is committed to promoting the independence and integrity of the bench. The state legislature, judges and attorneys have long struggled with reforming Oklahoma’s judicial selection system based on widely-held assumptions and anecdotes. Through the Judicial Justice Project, Oklahoma Appleseed is the first organization in the state to conduct empirical research on how campaign contributions, endorsements and many other factors affect the electoral success of judicial candidates. After this data is analyzed, Oklahoma Appleseed will publicize a full report of findings and recommendations for reform.

Oklahoma Bar Association


League of Women Voters of Oregon

Oregon State Bar


Committee of 70
Established in 1904, the Committee of 70 is a nonprofit, nonpartisan political watchdog organization dedicated to advancing good government in the city of Philadelphia and surrounding communities. The Committee of 70 supports merit selection of judges, believing that such a system would "give Pennsylvania an effective, democratic way of choosing appellate judges." The organization's rationale for supporting merit selection is outlined in its report "Who Chooses? The Need For Judicial Reform in Pennsylvania," available on its web site.

Common Cause Pennsylvania
Common Cause of Pennsylvania supports merit selection of appellate judges with a local option for common pleas judges. Until merit selection is adopted, Common Cause supports limits on contributions to judicial candidates from individuals and PACs and partial public financing for judicial elections.

Pennsylvania Bar Association
The Pennsylvania Bar Association has advocated merit selection for over 40 years. Various entities of the PBA are also involved in the selection process. The judicial evaluation commission rates appellate judicial candidates standing for retention as either "highly recommended," "recommended," or "not recommended," and the judicial campaign advertising board promotes "accurate, fair, and dignified" advertising during campaigns for Pennsylvania's appellate courts.

Pennsylvania League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania supports merit selection for appellate judges with a local option for common pleas judges, as discussed in its position paper Where We Stand on Judicial Selection. The Pennsylvania League's Citizen Education Fund publishes a voters guide that provides information about candidates for the supreme, superior, and commonwealth courts, and some local leagues publish voters guides that also include candidates for the courts of common pleas.

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts
Created in 1987, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (“PMC”) is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization committed to improving Pennsylvania’s judicial system in order to achieve better courts for all Pennsylvania citizens.

Rhode Island

Common Cause of Rhode Island

League of Women Voters of Rhode Island

Rhode Island Bar Association

South Carolina

South Carolina Bar

The South Carolina Bar's judicial qualifications committee evaluates candidates for selection to state courts.

South Dakota

League of Women Voters of South Dakota

State Bar of South Dakota


Tennessee Bar Association
In 1998, the Tennessee Bar Association formed a blue-ribbon committee on judicial independence to "counter increasing attacks on the Tennessee judiciary by special interest groups." The committee works with other civic groups, such as the Tennessee Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, to raise public awareness about the importance of judicial independence. In addition, the TBA has formed a committee to respond to unfair criticism of sitting judges who, because of ethical constraints, cannot defend themselves. For the 1998 retention elections, the TBA conducted a public service campaign to educate voters regarding factors to consider when selecting judicial candidates. They sponsored a radio advertising campaign and prepared information kits that were available online and upon request. Kits included a brochure on Tennessee's judicial performance evaluation program, the Tennessee appellate judges evaluation report, and guidelines on the factors to be considered in evaluating judicial candidates.

Tennessee League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of Tennessee is a nonpartisan political organization that seeks to influence public policy through education and advocacy. It has worked with the Tennessee Bar Association's blue-ribbon commission to raise public awareness of judicial independence. The League also supports reform of the Tennessee judicial system, particularly in the areas of redistricting, uniformity in structure, and methods of disciplining and removing judges.


Campaigns for People
Campaigns for People’s mission is to promote workable reforms that restrain the influence of money on Texas government and help create an ethical climate that builds public confidence in the state’s democratic institutions.

Common Cause Texas
Common Cause Texas supports public financing of judicial campaigns, nonpartisan election of trial court judges, merit appointment and retention of appellate court judges, and publicly funded judicial voter guides.

League of Women Voters of Texas
Since 1965, the League of Women Voters of Texas has supported merit selection and retention of Texas judges. Because of concerns among some of its members about this position, the League voted to restudy the issue of judicial selection in Texas at its 2001 convention. Click here to read the report. The League also supports public financing for state elected offices. LWV of Texas publishes a voters guide that includes judicial candidates prior to the general election. The League's Education Fund offers an informational brochure about the Texas judicial system.

Make Texas Proud
Make Texas Proud is a reform organization established in 2003 by former Chief Justice John Hill to promote an appointment and retention process for selecting Texas judges.

Public Citizen
Since 1984, Public Citizen's Texas office has concerned itself with, among other issues, campaign finance and ethics. The Texas office has successfully lobbied for some limits on judicial campaign contributions, and is currently working toward full and timely electronic campaign contribution disclosure. In April 2000, Public Citizen and other nonprofit organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging Texas' judicial campaign finance system as a violation of a citizen's constitutional right to due process of law. The suit alleged that judges cannot be impartial when they solicit and receive campaign contributions from lawyers who argue cases before them. In Public Citizen, Inc. v. Bomer, the trial court ruled that the issue should be resolved by Texas citizens and their legislators. 115 F.Supp.2d 743 (W.D.Tex. 2000). The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit. 274 F.3d 212 (5th Cir. 2001).

Texans for Public Justice
Texans for Public Justice is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization that focuses on corporate responsibility and money in politics. TPJ was founded in January 1997 to expose the abuses of Texas’ indulgent campaign finance system, which is known as “the Wild West of money in politics.” To accomplish this goal, TPJ has published an unprecedented series of reports that have revealed the sources and destinations of the river of political money that flows with no meaningful campaign contribution limits.

Texas Bar Association


League of Women Voters of Utah

Utah State Bar


Vermont State Bar Association


Virginia State Bar Association

The judicial nominations committee of the Virginia State Bar rates applicants for state appellate courts as “highly qualified,” “qualified,” or “not qualified.”


Judicial Selection Coalition
The Judicial Selection Coalition is a coalition of bar associations and "good government" groups that is concerned about the current process for selecting judges in the state and is considering appropriate reforms.

King County Bar Association
The King County Bar Association's Judicial Screening Committee rates candidates for appointment or election to King County Municipal, District, and Superior Courts and to state appellate courts for contested elections. The ratings are published for contested elections; they are not published in the case of candidates being rated for appointment. The KCBA has also adopted Fair Campaign Practices Guidelines.

League of Women Voters of Washington

Washington Chapter of the American Judicature Society
The Washington chapter of AJS has two standing committees: public education and judicial standards and performance. The public education committee has developed a curriculum for use in the classroom, primarily in secondary education. The judicial standards and performance committee has completed a pilot judicial evaluation program at the trial court level and is currently extending it to the appellate court level. The evaluation program uses objective-criteria questionnaires to evaluate volunteer judges. The chapter hopes that this will create statewide interest in a permanent program, which would make Washington the first non-retention state to adopt a public and objective performance evaluation system.

Washington State Bar Association

West Virginia

League of Women Voters of West Virginia

West Virginia State Bar Association
In 1996, the West Virginia State Bar proposed a constitutional amendment calling for merit selection of judges, but the measure failed in the legislature. According to a 1999 survey of state bar members, 59% believed that the method of selection should be changed, and 70% of those in favor of change supported merit selection.


Common Cause Wisconsin

League of Women Voters of Wisconsin

State Bar of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Citizen Action
Wisconsin Citizen Action unites the power of individuals and progressive organizations to fight for social, economic, and environmental justice. Their mission is to: (1) Win specific improvements in people's daily lives; (2) Activate people's sense of their own real power to shape their future; and (3) Alter the relations of power between people and the special interests dominating their lives. Their strategy is to build majoritarian power around issue and electoral campaigns.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is a feisty political watchdog that tracks money in state politics and advocates for campaign finance reform. WDC has built an alliance of over 40 statewide groups in Wisconsin called the Voters First Coalition that has united behind a comprehensive campaign reform initiative. Among the many provisions of the Voters First plan is public financing of state Supreme Court races.


League of Women Voters of Wyoming

Wyoming State Bar