University of Denver

The O’Connor Judicial Selection Plan

IAALS and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

IAALS has a deep and abiding interest in protecting the quality and integrity of the judiciary. To that end, IAALS has worked closely with an extremely qualified Advisory Committee chaired by United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.). With her assistance, and based upon IAALS’ independent research and compilation of existing research, IAALS and Justice O’Connor have identified a model for judicial selection that we believe best balances the dual goals of impartiality and accountability.

This four-part model includes:

  1. Screening and nomination of applicants from an open field by a commission that is politically balanced and that includes a majority of non-attorneys
  2. Appointment from among those nominees by the sitting governor of the state
  3. Robust evaluation of the judge by individuals who appear before him or her and circulation of that information to voters
  4. Retention election on a regular basis in which all voters may cast an informed vote for or against the judge, with the benefit of the evaluation data

For more information about the Plan in action, click here.