Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

It's that time of year again.

Many federal judges aren't conducting trials today so that jurors can vote.

I always ask the question about judicial elections vs. appointments. Who has the better system? In the judicial races today, what do you know about the candidates? What does the general public know? Are we making an informed decision?

You all know my view -- the federal appointment system, which has its own flaws, is the better way to select judges.

Thoughts?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Most lawyers have no idea who they are voting for; the general public is entirely clueless.

Judicial elections = a joke

At least politicians make informed decisions about the appointments they make, even if those decisions are sometimes informed by improper purpose.

Thomas Jefferson said...

Thomas Jefferson wrote:
[F]or the judiciary perversions of the constitution will forever be protected under the pretext of errors of judgment, which by principle are exempt from punishment. Impeachment therefore, is a bugbear which they fear not at all.
But they would be under some awe of the canvas of their conduct which would be open to both houses regularly every 6th year. It is a misnomer to call a government republican, in which a branch of the supreme power is independent of the nation....

....

[T]he machine, as it is, will, I believe, last my time, and those coming after will know how to repair it to their own minds.
To James Pleasants, Dec. 26, 1821.

Anonymous said...

David,

If you like abusive, arrogant judges go with appointments. If you want judges that have respect for the litigants and attorneys in front of them keep elections.

Elections may get you some ill suited judges -- they don't last, they get voted off. But, anybody that practices in State Court can point to an equal number of appointed judges (filling open seats through the JNC process) that are as unqualified as the worst elected judge.

Under your "ideal" system, we will be stuck with these people forever and they will not be restrained. Don't even say "merit retention," that system is a joke.

The purpose of lifetime appointments in the federal system is to protect the judiciary's independence from the government. As you know, there is no more vindictive, petty institution then the Government/DOJ/US Atty's Office. With good cause, Federal Judges need to be shielded from these maniacs. The same is not true in the State System in Florida.

Anonymous said...

10:10, when is the last time two federal judges got into a fight over a fax machine?

Anonymous said...

The only reason they have not is because the government can afford one for each. Come on, they fight over all kinds of stuff. How do you think they would do sharing courtrooms...HA! It would be a freakin war.