1101 Market Street, 11th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: 215-238-6300 Fax: 215-238-1267 www.philadelphiabar.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Daniel A. Cirucci
Phone: (215) 238-6340
8. What interest does the Bar Association have in the judicial election?
We are an independent, non-partisan organization of lawyers. We are non-political. We simply want to see the most qualified people elected to judicial office. Our independent 29-member Judicial Commission and its 120-member investigative division complete an exhaustive study and investigation of each of the judicial candidates. The Commission and its staff spend countless hours reviewing the candidates' backgrounds and experience before reaching conclusions about which candidates for Common Pleas and Municipal Court are qualified to be judges.
9. How does the Commission conduct its investigation?
Each investigation into a candidate's credentials consumes at least 10 hours of staff time. The 120-member investigative division represents the eyes and ears of the Judicial Commission. A five-member team that includes non-lawyers reviews each candidate. Investigative Division members interview judicial candidates as well as lawyers, judges and others who are knowledgeable about the candidates. Additional time is also spent reviewing writing samples and other factors that bear on a candidate's qualifications. Every candidate is also given up to two hours of consideration by the full Commission. In the case of sitting judges seeking retention in their posts the Commission also relies on the results of a poll of the city's lawyers, which rates the judges on their performance.
10. What happens when the Commission concludes its investigation?
Based on all the information that is gathered, the Commission rates each candidate for judge either "Recommended" or "Not Recommended" for election. The ratings are posted here on this site, advertised in daily and weekly newspapers and distributed throughout the city.
11. Why are the Commission's ratings important? Why should I pay attention to them?
Only the Judicial Commission evaluates the candidates this way - in a fair, thorough, objective and non-partisan manner. And this is the only way to help foster an independent judiciary.
Furthermore, the Commission is clear and concise in its ratings: "Recommended" for election or "Not Recommended". That's easy enough for any voter to understand.
The Judicial Commission is also diverse - comprised of lawyers and non-lawyers alike. Just as important, the Commission is comprised of representatives from each area of the Bar, and has numerous women and minority members. The Commission, therefore, represents a wide cross-section of viewpoints from the Bar and the community. In fact, one-third of the Commission and its staff are not even attorneys. This means that non-lawyers provide their valuable input into the Commission's ratings, and their perceptions of the candidates are very important.
Without these ratings, voters would have no objective guidance at all. That's why it makes sense for every voter to pay attention to the ratings in the spring and the fall.
12. What can I do to help?
Take the Commission's ratings with you to the polls. Select your choices for judge from among those found "Recommended" by the Commission. Vote for "Recommended" candidates. Download information and the Commission's ratings from this Web site. Copy the information and distribute it. Help us inform friends and neighbors about the elections, the evaluation process and the "Recommended" candidates. When you do this you will help to insure the election of an independent, well-qualified judiciary!