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  1. #1
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    hi im currently doing a research on this topic and im curious what everyone else thinks about this. Personally, i kinda agree with the fact that judges should be elected. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    No approach is perfect. Elected judges, particularly those who must stand for re-election, must raise campaign funds - which can raise issues as to their objectivity when it comes to their treatment of potential and actual campaign donors. Also, some highly qualified candidates may not wish to be elected officials. Further, in many jurisdictions with elected judges the judge is initially appointed, either to fill a newly created seat or to replace a judge who has left the bench before the end of his or her term of office, and once in office judges are almost always re-elected.

    An appointed system tends to result in the appointment of judges who are politically connected to whomever is making the appointments, which can mean that past campaign contributions or other favors to the person making the appointment can be more important than other qualifications. The term of the appointment can also impact the quality of a judge's performance.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    As aaron pointed out there are pros and cons to both. If we lived in a perfect world, a system of appointed judges would probably be best possibly coupled with some recall provision where voters could vote a judge out if a large enough percentage of the vote in favor of recall were garnered. Presumably, the person making the appointments would have a lot of input from people in the know as to who would truly be qualified to serve. The electorate generally does not have that knowledge and so people end up being elected based on many things other than on their qualifications. Also, the electorate may penalize a judge and hold him/her hostage if he/she takes an unpopular position on a legal matter even if their position is the legally correct one.

    But the process of appointment can be flawed too if the person making the appointments decides to put in judicial positions either their friends or people who helped them get into political office. Here again, decisions can get made on matters other than merit. Hence, a combination of the two may be the best that we can do.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    hey guys thanks for the replies!

    just wondering, don't you think that if judges were elected,we'll get better representation for women and certain minorities? it seems that most judges are males and this might make certain cases more unfair.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    I come from a State where our State court judges are elected except for temporary or emergency type situations where they are appointed. I know a number of women who have been elected to judicial office. Two of the seven State Supreme Court Justices are women (one of those was appointed by the Governor to fill a retiring judge's unexpired term) and three of the twelve Court of Appeals Judges are women. I know numerous women trial court judges who have been elected to office here.

    When you look at the federal system where all judges are appointed you would probably see the percentage of women judges being at least the percentage we have here. I do not think electing judges would make the judiciary more diverse (I hope we could all agree that diversity in and of itself is not of paramount importance--qualifications are the key). Some might argue appointing judges may better achieve such a goal because politicians are going to be more sensitive to the issue of diversity than the general electorate.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    Do you have lots of women and minorities in other elected positions?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    Sorry I missed this one. The truth is probably more women and minorities are in appointed positions than elective ones but that's just a general admittedly unscientific perception. Maybe it is just because I pay more attention to the judiciary but it seems like women and minorities, whether appointed or elected, are fairly well represented there perhaps moreso than in other public service positions.

  8. #8
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    Imagine every case having 3 judges. One is called the chief judge. After the attorneys finish argueing, all 3 judges go and reach a verdict. I know it will cost more for the tax payers.

    Maybe try giving each magistrate a test to be a judge. The 5 test are trials that are acted. The attorneys and parties are actors. They already know if the defendant commited the crime or not. The judge makes the verdict, no jury. Use the same test trials for each magistrate. Whoever gets the most test right will be elected.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Should judges be elected instead of appointed?

    On appellate cases, it is not unusual to see judges sit in panels of three-it is pretty common actually whether it is state or federal. That's probably not workable in trial situations.

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