The Judges

The system is only as good as the judges who preside over it. So, we have engaged in the field of judicial selection, retention, and evaluation as well. We have developed a recommended model of judicial selection, which values both accountability and impartiality. Within that model, we led the country in our focus on the judicial performance evaluation (JPE) programs that provide voters with accurate and apolitical information about the judges on their ballot.

Together with our working group of JPE program coordinators in 15 states, we have achieved the following: 

  • Colorado, New Hampshire, and Utah have all revised their JPE programs based on IAALS’ reports and recommendations.
  • IAALS’ work supported additional funding for the New Mexico JPE program, and the North Carolina Bar Association used our model on a pilot basis in 2008 and 2009, and has now established a permanent program.   
  • Three states—Utah, North Carolina, and Alaska—developed “Know Your Judge” Public Service Announcements and related materials based on the 2010 “Know Your Judge” project in Colorado, in which IAALS was a partner.
  • Missouri adopted our proposed plan for the evaluation of appellate judges in 2014, and reported an improved and fairer process.

We are led in this area of our work by former United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and joined by an all-star group including a former Governor, U.S. Senator, two State Chief Justices, General Counsel of a major corporation, American Bar Association President, and League of Women Voters’ President.