Judicial elections

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

When voters in Allegheny County go to the poles May 16, they will see the names of at least 14 candidates hoping to become a judge.

While it is often difficult for parties to find candidates to run for other offices, it is virtually never a problem to fill the slate with lawyers looking to earn a seat on the bench.

So why is that?

The Politics Of Pennsylvania's Supreme Court Race

Oct 22, 2015
Beth Cortez-Neavel / flickr

The Pennsylvania judicial election is less than two weeks away, and tensions are high. With new attack ads airing regularly, many wonder what effect large monetary campaign donations are having on the race. Essential Pittsburgh’s Paul Guggenheimer sat down with Post-Gazette reporter Chris Potter, who has been covering the race.

For years, a dogged group of advocates has called for appointing appellate court judges in a multi-step process called merit selection, instead of holding partisan elections.

Supporters say relying on judicial elections all but ensures that judges aren’t independent arbiters of reason, but adept fundraisers.