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New York: Scotus says, no right to a "fair shot" at judgeship nomination

The New York Times reports: The challenge to New York’s method for choosing candidates to run in judicial elections ended in failure at the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday when not a single justice accepted the plaintiffs’ claim that the system was unconstitutional.

Voting 9 to 0, the court overturned a 2006 ruling by the federal appeals court in New York that declared the party convention system for choosing nominees to the state’s trial court unconstitutional. The case, brought in early 2004 by a group of voters, unsuccessful judicial candidates, and the civic group Common Cause, had shaken the state’s judicial politics.

The appeals court had ordered the state to substitute a direct primary election for the judicial convention system, which it said deprived candidates who lacked the backing of party leaders of a realistic chance of getting on the ballot. The order was held up awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s succinct 12-page opinion for the court was dismissive of what he characterized as the lawsuit’s premise. “None of our cases establishes an individual’s constitutional right to have a ‘fair shot’ at winning the party’s nomination,” he wrote. -- Justices Uphold New York’s Judge System

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