State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) citing the need for more governmental transparency and accountability, voted in favor of legislation, Senate bill 55-A, that would amend the way candidates for State Supreme Count Justices are selected. The measure abolishes political party nominations by a judicial convention and replaces it with a petition process that is similar to the selection process used by judges at a county level.
"This bill will ensure that the public has a strong voice in determining who will represent them on the Court. Our government was formed on the premise of government by the people and for the people, stated Senator Bonacic. "The current process does not give the people a voice rather party bosses are given control."
Senator Bonacic said that action on the Senate bill is extremely important as a January 27, 2006 decision by US District Court Judge John Gleeson deemed the current selection process unconstitutional because the selection of candidates through political conventions can be tightly controlled by party voices, depriving voters of their say in the process.
Presently, candidates for Supreme Court Justices are nominated by a judicial district convention. The delegates to that convention are designated by petitions circulated prior to the primary election. The delegates, designated by Assembly District within the judicial district, then meet in late September to designate a particular party's candidate for Supreme Court.
"It is critical for the people to have openness and accountability at every branch of goverment, not just the legislative branch in order to be responsive to the people," stated Senator Bonacic. "At this juncture, I urge the Assembly to act on behalf of New Yorkers and approve this important reform measure."