Appeals panel: Delaware bench party parity unconstitutional

(AP) — A federal appeals panel has upheld a ruling that a provision in Delaware’s constitution requiring a political balance among state court judges is unconstitutional.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in favor of James Adams, a lawyer who sued Democratic Gov. John Carney over a constitutional provision that requires the governor to split judicial nominations between the two major political parties. Adams says he wanted to apply for judgeships, but he didn’t meet the political affiliation requirements.

The judges found that the requirement violated Adams’ freedom of association rights and the provision violates the First Amendment.

Adams’ attorney David Finger calls the ruling a victory for Delaware’s judicial system that will increase the number of qualified candidates.

Carney’s office had no immediate comment.

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