JUDICIAL SELECTION MEMO

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This assignment asks you to write a professional memorandum to a public official about how judicial seats are staffed in California. Objectives: This assignment provides an opportunity for students to • connect class materials to the legal and political worlds; • independently research and evaluate a policy proposal directly relevant to judicial policy-making; • develop professional writing skills in a format appropriate to non-academic settings. The scenario: Congratulations! You have just been hired as a consultant by Governor Gavin Newsom to provide an independent, non-partisan, and non-ideological analysis of whether California should consider changing its system for staffing its trial and appellate judgeships. NOTE: Governor Newsom has already hired campaign staff to consider the political aspects of judicial staffing proposals, but he is hiring you based on your established professional reputation for cutting through partisan rhetoric and positioning to provide fair, independent recommendations. The Assignment: Your analysis is to be provided in the form of a professional memo of approximately 5 at least 3 pages (single-spaced, with double spaces between paragraphs). You need to construct your memo to follow the guidelines and sample I’ve provided (see below). Your analysis should consider the following points: • provide a BRIEF overview of how California currently staffs its judicial seats; • explain at least two alternative mechanisms that are currently being used or have been proposed somewhere in the U.S. to fill judgeships; • explain the pros/cons of California’s system compared to these alternatives; • provide a recommendation about what you see as the “best” system of judicial selection currently available, providing a strong rationale for your recommendation. NOTE: Even when writing professional (rather than strictly academic) analysis, rules regarding academic honesty still apply. See below for guidance. Your memo should include references to at least 3 of our assigned sources, and at least 3 OUTSIDE sources not assigned for class. At least one of the outside sources should be an academic study, be wary of ideologically-driven sources. The memo should follow the format provided by Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) at: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/subject_specific_writing/professional_technical_writing/memos/format.html

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