Judicial Selection

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In recent years judicial selection has become an issue of great debate with many different views and ways to make it better. In Texas, judicial selection is carried out by partisan elections where voters get to choose the judges and justices. This form of judicial selection has many advantages as well as some disadvantages.

One advantage of judicial selection by election is that it gives the voters the power in the selection. This allows Texans to be sure that the selection process is kept “…out of the hands of an elitist entity that would choose political cronies or donors.” In merit based selection, for example, even if the people vote not to retain the judge, the people of power in government just get to pick another one of their buddies. Another advantage is that elections allow the people to get to know the candidates better. Since the candidates must campaign for the election it is much easier for the voters to find out their judicial philosophies and their qualifications for the job. If selection wasn’t done by election the people wouldn’t know anything about their judges because they would have no reason to get their name out and state their policies. The ability to remove judges that aren’t doing their job is also an advantage of judicial selection by election. In a merit based system “…given the low attention of the electorate, removing bad judges from office is difficult.”i

The disadvantages of the judicial selection by election system are almost all associated with the campaign process. The main issue is that the campaigns are largely funded by corporations and organizations that are likely to appear in court.i This causes a lot of distrust among the people because the majority believes the campaign contributions influence judge’s decisions. Whether the contributions actually influence decisions or not, the people have lost some faith in the judicial which is the biggest problem. Also, the campaigns are problematic because usually whoever raises...
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