- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Latest on a North Carolina Senate committee examining whether to propose changes to how judges are selected (all times local):

5:55 p.m.

A national judicial reform group and North Carolina law school leader back altering the state’s current method of selecting judges, offering to legislators options more focused on appointment and confirmation and less on current head-to-head elections.

A leader at the Brennan Center for Justice and the University of North Carolina law school dean offered their ideas Wednesday to a state Senate committee considering massive changes to the state judiciary. Any changes could be considered formally in a special General Assembly session next month.

The Brennan Center supports letting the governor appoint judges from a list of names decided by a special nominating commission. The center isn’t sold on letting judges seek re-election.

Martin Brinkley - the UNC law school dean - said he personally prefers the federal system of having executive branch nominees being subject to legislative confirmation.


4:05 a.m.

Senators meeting to discuss whether to retool how judges are chosen in North Carolina are now collecting information from some professors and a national judicial reform group.

The Senate Select Committee on Judicial Reform and Redistricting holds its second meeting Wednesday, with representatives from the University of North Carolina law school and Brennan Center for Justice making presentations.

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger formed the panel in part to evaluate whether the state should replace head-to-head elections for judgeships with a “merit selection” system. At its first meeting, the panel evaluated a House Republican plan to redraw election districts for trial judges and local prosecutors.

Many GOP legislators want to address judicial redistricting and selection in a special General Assembly session in early January. Democrats are suspicious of both ideas.

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