Prof. James Sample Analyzes New York State’s Judicial Selection Process for ‘City & State NY’

James Sample , Professor of Law

No Judgeships for Klein or Hamilton — for Now
Party bosses deny having plans to select the ex-state senators, but reformers said it’s a problem that they could.
By Frank G. Runyeon
City & State New York
Sept. 19, 2018

Regardless of party leaders’ intentions for Klein or Hamilton, they could easily make them judges, if they chose to do so. “The selection process has all the trappings of democracy but has none of the actual substance,” said James Sample, a Hofstra law professor and former attorney in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The voters are given the illusion of playing a role in this process but the choices are all made for them.”

Democratic voters elect judicial delegates, chosen by the party, with little or no information about who they are. Then, those delegates gather in what Sample said have proven to be perfunctory conventions where a pre-approved candidate is nominated. In Democratic-majority districts, said Sample, “the nomination is everything.”

“There’s no opportunity for a challenger candidate to petition his or her way onto a primary ballot” to compete against the party’s chosen candidate for the nomination, Sample said. “That’s where the process effectively becomes an appointment.”

Read the full article on the City & State New York website.

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