Judicial Election Process
You May Know the Law But I Own the Judge: Why Congress Can and Should Get Involved in State Judicial Election Reform
This article helped me to better understand the American judicial system and the election process of judges. The commission needs to know that whoever is selected is truly qualified to hold the position. The selection commission usually meets twice in the selection process, and the public is encouraged to attend both of the meetings. The commission usually asks the public for comments regarding the applicants’ qualifications at the beginning of each meeting. Afterward, the commission talks each applicant. (Berman, Jonathon, 2009). Judicial meetings are held to allow the people to have their say, to choose the person who is best for the position of judge. What happens when it comes time to select a judge? Who is the right person? It is a big deal because the judge has the final say in the courtroom. What happens in the court room makes a difference in society. It is important for people to choose a judge who is able to run a fair court room. Many judges are selection by partisan election. Why don’t all states use partisan election? One reason is that lots of money is involved in the merit selection system. Elections for judges cost in the millions of dollars. Where does all that money come from and go is a fair question? (Berman, Jonathon, 2009). People are concerned with various kinds of issues that judges at the state levels hear. Voters can be mobilized by a number of states use non-partisan election to select their judges. This process is due to people talking about an unpopular judicial decision that will come out and vote for many various candidates running for various types of judicial positions. There are a lot of pressures on judges regardless of the election system. I believe this is being very destabilizing to our justice system. In rural areas, the election system has not been so bad, but has been a true disaster in urban areas of the United States. In many states there are several contested judicial elections which cause problems in the election process. Many times citizens are asked to choose relative merits of judge applicants whom they have never heard of. The people had no other que than a party label. If it had been non-partisan, the voters would probably have merely chosen the shortest name. If there is one judge in a county, elections work pretty well. If there is a huge number of judges there are many problems that arise. I think in the long run, at open elections, particularly judges with a party label, make judicial applicants behave less how we want judges to behave and more like legislatures in robes (Berman, Jonathon, 2009). Judicial selection in the United States today, given how the people perceive what judges are doing, and given the dispute in this country as to the proper role of judges, is political. People, educated or uneducated, sophisticated or not, are largely divided into two schools of thought as to what judges ought to do. What is the proper scope of the judges’ authority? There is the traditional approach to judging that is advanced by conservatives. According to the traditional approach, judges are to interpret statutes of the Constitution by attempting to discern the original understanding of the drafters or radifiers. There is very little latitude in this approach for philanthropy. The judges’ roles are important, but constrained (Berman, Jonathon, 2009). The other proposition advanced by liberals supports a more aggressive role for judges. This model sees judges with much more warrant to make policy in politically contentious areas, such as, the death penalty, affirmative action, abortion, religion in the public square, sexual liberty, same sex marriage and the like through vehicles such as living constitutions and uninumerated rights. We cannot truly ignore that selection is political. Society wants a person who agrees with them in...
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