2010

(Vol. 15) “Judicial Selection in Rhode Island”

Does it matter how judges are chosen?  Are elections or merit-based selections of judges preferable?  Is there an alternative method to the selection of judges?  Judicial selection is a contentious and often-debated topic.  This symposium brings together law professors, judges, and legal practitioners to discuss the process of judicial selection in Rhode Island, including the current selection system, concerns about the current selection system and potential improvements to the system.

Symposium Participants and Topics

Michael J. Yelnosky, Professor and Dean Designate, Roger Williams University School of Law. Topic: “The Impact of ‘Merit Selection’ on the Characteristics of Rhode Island Judges”

Judge William E. Smith, District Judge, United States District Court, District of Rhode Island. Topic:  “Reflections on Judicial Merit Selection, the Rhode Island Experience, and Some Modest Proposals for Reform and Improvement”

Mirya R. Holman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University. Topic:  “Measuring Merit in Rhode Island’s Natural Experiment in Judicial Selection”

Alan S. Fink, retired partner of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP; former president of R.I. Bar Association. Topic:  “Rhode Island’s Judicial Merit Selection Process Merits Improvement”

John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island. Topic:  “Judging How We Pick Judges: Fifteen Years of Merit Selection in Rhode Island”

Joseph Larisa, graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law, currently of Larisa Law and Consulting. Topic:  “The Merit Selection Continuum”

Rachel Paine Caufield, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Drake University Department of Politics and International Relations. Topic:  “What Makes Merit Selection Different?”

Emily J. Sack, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University School of Law. Topic:  “Judicial Selection in Rhode Island:  Assessing the Experience with ‘Merit Selection’: Response”