Saturday, September 25, 2010

Electing judges

A reader send this NY Times story:
Around the country, judicial elections that were designed to be as apolitical as possible are suddenly as contentious as any another race.
The article fails to mention the Nevada issue:
Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor continued her push Wednesday to change the way Nevada selects its district judges and Supreme Court justices.

O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court, is backing Ballot Question 1, which would end Nevada's system of electing judges and replace it with a system where judges would first be appointed by the governor after a review by a judicial committee.
Elections for judges seem to be useless because there is almost never any serious public debate of the legal issues, and the incumbent judges almost always win re-election. But that's politics. You could say similar things about other elections.

I am all in favor of holding judges accountable somehow. If some judges lose elections this years, along with the Congressmen who are losing elections, then maybe more judges will feel pressured to do a better job.

We need better ways to remove bad judges. Commissioner Irwin Joseph was eventually fired, but he would have been removed a lot earlier if those who saw him in court had any say about it.

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