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Texas Lawmakers Propose Nonpartisan Judicial Selection

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Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and other lawmakers are calling for reform on the selection process for judges on many of the state's courts. 

Currently, most judges are chosen by voters during major election cycles and Texas requires these candidates to run under the banner of a specific political party. The state's "straight-ticket" voting option, which is set to expire in 2020, shifted power in the courts significantly in the last midterm elections. 

If the system were to change, what would be the alternative?

San Antonio-area state Representative Steve Allison filed House Bill 3061 this legislative session, which would initiate a study to reassess different methods of choosing trial and appellate judges.

What is the reasoning behind requiring judicial candidates to file under one party or another? Does political affiliation factor into judicial decision-making? What other factors could better measure a judge's qualifications? 

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"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

This interview aired on Monday, April 1, 2019.

Jan Ross Piedad is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.