Ethics commissions appointed by local legislative bodies, mayors,
or county executives are often referred to as "independent
commissions." I don't believe that these commissions should be considered
"independent," because those who select the EC members are under the
members' jurisdiction and, in fact, are the people most likely to come before them. These EC members are perceived as biased toward
their appointing party, which is far from "independence."
According to an
article in Capital New York yesterday
, the independence of a
citizen commission selected by party leaders in
the state legislature is the subject of a judicial decision
yesterday (the decision is attached; see below). The case involves
a referendum that would take redistricting out of the hands of the
majority party in the state legislature and hand it to an
"independent" commission selected by state legislative leaders from
both major parties.