Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Should judges be elected?

Appointing judges has its problems, but after reading Rumpole’s blog and speaking to the state practitioners, it seems that electing judges is much worse and doesn’t make much sense. What do you all think?

In the meantime, watch this John Oliver clip in juries:


Anonymous said...

I think just the opposite. Three incumbents lost. Two had reputations as bullies. The transcript of the Rebull hearing was atrocious. Mansfield was appointed, and seemed to be doing fine. Perhaps his replacement will also be good.

I will take the ability to knock two bullies off the bench (no matter how smart they are) if it comes at the cost of one guy who was never elected loosing.

It would be so much worse if these people were appointed, it basically would be forever.

You only favor appointments because your big shot buddies would be involved in the process....I get it, but it's not ideal for the other 99% of lawyers and litigants.

Also, the rest of the bench is going to be a heck of a lot nicer today than they were yesterday!

Anonymous said...

The other side is look at the 11th. Crony appointments. The result was political hackery on full display yesterday.Embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

In State system you only have to look at the bench in DCA's and Supreme Court (appointed) versus circuit and county (elected) to see that elections are superior. In an appointed system you get judges who will almost never buck the political party that appointed them, and as more and more of our legal disputes even in standard criminal cases have political overtones, this is bad.

Also few lawyers who actually practiced in front of them are crying over Rebull and Tunis losing. One could certainly argue that the system worked in both instances.

Anonymous said...

I agree that two of the judges who lost (Rebull and Tunis) probably deserved to be thrown off the bench. But each lost to a challenger who was generally viewed as unqualified by their peers in the legal community. So it's not like we can say that the state court bench was upgraded in any way - only that we have garbage in for garbage out.
There is no perfect system for picking judges, but putting this issue to the electorate -- which has essentially no ability to determine whether a judge is good at his or her job -- forces judges to fundraise from big law firms and cater to special interests in the community, just like any other politician.
And while I wouldn't choose a system that guarantees life tenure, the merit selection process that produced Roy Altman, Rudy Ruiz, Bobby Luck and Barbara Lagoa is a better system than the one that produced Rosy Aponte and Mike Mirabal. I certainly don't agree with the politics of Trump's judicial nominees, but each of them is infinitely more qualified to do the job than the new state judges picked by our electorate.

Anonymous said...

11:42 nailed it.

Appointment with either retention elections or "up or out" term limits.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, that wonderful system of merit appointments that has Renatha Francis on the Florida Supreme Court (or will once we all finish waiting on bated breath for her to have been a lawyer for ten years).

Rumpole said...

Look the issue here is that a Judge with a temperament issue but a judge who was experienced and routinely handled the most serious and complicated cases without much of an issue was beaten by a lawyer who had been banned from bankruptcy court and who worked for a law firm that was owned by an out of state disbarred lawyer that employs runners to solicit cases at the accident scene. Several former clients who sued the firm said this in affidavits. The lawyer was and is not qualified to be a judge and yet she beat a very qualified judge and no one would say the public was remotely aware that the judge has some criticisms for being short with lawyers in court at times. So what do we make of this ?

I have seen in the past very bad judges beaten at the polls -Peter Adrian being a prime example. So we take the good with the bad. Not sure what I think on elections after this. Still sorting it out.

Anonymous said...

11:42 do you really think the JNC is a "merit selection" system. Put down the vape.

Unknown said...

The Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission is currently accepting applications (until Friday 8/21) to fill the vacancy created by Alex Bokor's elevation to the Third District Court of Appeals. If you are a highly qualified attorney that is interested in public service please apply. If you know someone that fits this description, please let them know about the vacancy. There are about a dozen trial court vacancies a year in Miami-Dade, so we constantly need new applicants. We can only nominate folks that apply:

If you are interested in the process, but not quite ready to submit an application, please feel free to observe the interviews (now on Zoom due to COVID), and reach out to Robert Fernandez ( to be added to the email list for future announcements.

Finally, if you ever have any comments about any applicant (positive or negative), please reach out to any other commissioner to share your thoughts. We value and appreciate any firsthand experiences that folks have had.

Hayden O’Byrne
Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Anonymous said...

DEMOCRATS - do not apply for the 3rd DCA position. You will not be appointed. The JNC only wants to demonstrate an appearance of fairness. Do not debase yourself.