Several years ago I was in Houston for business for a few days in the weeks before a general election. I was struck by the heavy advertising for judicial offices. In my state the judiciary is on the ballot only for retention elections several years after a judge has been appointed by the governor. The quality and quantity of the Texas advertisements, together with the tremendous cost of that advertising, left me with a strong negative feeling. I continue to feel that the quality of our judiciary in the federal system and states without partisan election of judges is significantly higher than in states that directly subject their judges to political pressure to gain and keep a spot on the bench.
Bert Brandenburg has a thoughtful article
in Slate about the vices and virtues of electing judges. And the excellent blog, The Pop Tort, has an update
on how Chamber of Commerce backed candidates did in various judicial elections across the country last week.
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