What are the pros and cons of electing judges?What are the pros and cons of electing judges?

3 Answers

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

The biggest problem I see with the election of judges is that most people have no idea who the judge is or what his record on the bench might be. They go to the polls and see a name or two to vote for for judge and just check which ever one might appeal to them at the time.

martinjmurphy's profile pic

martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

A person is either appointed to a judgeship or is elected by the people.  There are arguments for and against each method. Many people agree that justice must be impartial and the selection of judges should not be based on politics, but on a person’s ability as a jurist.  This would argue for a person being appointed.  Some argue that the voting public isn’t equipped to determine the most qualified candidate. Also, candidates to elected judgeships can be heavily influenced by special interest groups.

On the other hand, the judicial decisions, especially appellate decisions, become law and can have a great impact on the public.  This argues that the public should have the final say in selecting the judges that make these decisions. Some argue that the political beliefs of the person or persons making the selection will be reflected in the decisions that the appointed judge makes, so judges should be elected by the people.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Many states have judges (up to the State Supreme Court) who are elected by the voters.  There are pros and cons associated with this way of selecting judges.

The main pro is that the judges are then answerable to the people.  This is, you can argue, more democratic than having judges be appointed.  If a judge makes too many decisions that are out of line with what the people believe, he or she can be removed.

However, this has its cons too.  Judges are supposed to rule based on the law, not on what is popular.  If judges have to worry about being reelected, they are likely to take positions that they think are popular rather than sticking with what the law actually says.