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Democracy Docket: “Democratic Governors’ Judicial Appointments Have Never Mattered More”

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Democracy Docket: “Democratic Governors’ Judicial Appointments Have Never Mattered More”

In an op-ed for Democracy Docket, DGA Executive Director Meghan Meehan-Draper highlights the critical role governors play in state judicial appointments and touts the DGA’s new Power to Appoint fund which makes the case for why it’s more important than ever to elect Democratic governors who have the power to appoint judges.

Meehan-Draper noted, “It’s no surprise that Americans are more aware now than ever of the impact the courts have on their lives when it comes to freedom, democracy and the biggest issues we care about. That’s why the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is launching Power to Appoint, a new dedicated, no-overhead fund with a mission to uplift an important power almost every governor in America has: appointing judges.”

Below are some additional highlights from DGA Executive Director Meghan Meehan-Draper on the importance of Democratic governors and the DGA’s new Power to Appoint fund: 

  • “For example, since taking office in 2019, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) has used her power to appoint independent judges to bring balance to the court. Those judges have upheld voting as a fundamental right and signaled that access to abortion is a constitutional right.”
  • “In the critical battleground state of Arizona, Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) has appointed 15 judges to trial courts throughout the state, establishing an independent bench of judges who will uphold the rule of law in a state where MAGA extremists like Kari Lake have a record of trying to overturn and undermine free and fair elections through the courts. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has made over 300 judicial appointments, more than any governor in the country.”
  • “Despite the critical importance of these appointments, they have often gone overlooked. Democratic governors continue to earn recognition for the many ways they directly impact the lives of Americans, from expanding health care and fixing infrastructure to protecting fundamental freedoms like abortion rights and voting rights, and judicial appointments are another way that Democratic governors are continuing to improve the lives of people in their states.”
  • “At a time when the Biden-Harris administration is making a record number of federal judicial appointments, Democratic governors are helping to rebuild the pipeline of potential federal appointees, along with increasing the diversity of the country’s judicial system with each appointment they make.”
  • “​​In fact, the DGA continues to gain momentum and shatter fundraising records. In 2023 alone, we raised over $71.5 million across all entities, allowing us to invest more than ever to continue our track record of success. Since 2016, the DGA has won 26 out of 27 incumbent re-elections and defied history in 2022 by flipping three states from red to blue.”
  • “As of this year, sitting governors have made more than 1,500 judicial appointments, with more than 900 of those appointments coming from Democratic governors, according to our research. Judges appointed by Democratic governors uphold the rule of law and serve as an independent backstop against unconstitutional attacks on freedoms and civil rights.”
  • “The power to appoint judges is yet another critical reason we must continue to invest in electing more Democratic governors. The DGA looks forward to leveraging the growing enthusiasm voters have for governors races to underscore the important role governors play in establishing a judiciary who will serve as an independent firewall to uphold the U.S. Constitution and our fundamental freedoms.”

Read the full op-ed here.