In Search of Judicial Independence: A Case for a Commission Model of Judicial Selection
Sleder, Sarah J.
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During the summer of 2003, I began an internship with Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver, which I continued into the following summer of 2004. As an intern for the Justice, I gained invaluable knowledge about the judicial system and the workings of the Supreme Court and acquired vast experiences that will be with me for years to come. While working closing with Justice Weaver, I came to understand why she was so troubled by judicial elections as the method of selecting Michigan Supreme Court Justices. She has served as a judge for over 30 years and as a justice for over ten years. She has seen the court's transformation over the past three decades and the negative impact elections have had on the selection, and retention, of justices. Justice Weaver is inspiring, ambitious, and determined to reform the system to better serve the people of Michigan and achieve justice. Driven by the motto, "Do right and fear not", Justice Weaver has successfully won every election she has entered without compromising her vow to seek justice. She has, however, witnessed many troublesome incidents while serving on the Michigan Supreme Court that have driven her to oppose judicial elections. The following study will explore the issue of judicial selection in depth and propose a plan for improving the current system in Michigan. While Justice Weaver supervised this project, this is in no way an official document or an official representation of Justice Weaver's views. By exploring the issue of judicial selection, I hope to reveal the necessity of reforming the current system of elections in Michigan, at least at the Supreme Court level, and propose a solution to improve the judiciary. This research project will use information from published works of many critics of judicial selection as well as from Justice Weaver herself.
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