What are the pros and cons of election of judges by legislature?

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Legislative election of judges is a method of judge selection in which the state legislature votes to select the judges that will serve on the general jurisdiction and appellate courts within the state.  There are only two states in the nation that currently use this method of judicial selection; these...

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Legislative election of judges is a method of judge selection in which the state legislature votes to select the judges that will serve on the general jurisdiction and appellate courts within the state.  There are only two states in the nation that currently use this method of judicial selection; these states are Virginia and South Carolina.  The general assembly of these two states vote for the judges that will serve on the bench.  In South Carolina, this is done by a combination of both chambers of the general assembly voting together whereas in Virginia, the chambers vote as separate units with the winning candidate being the one who garners the majority of the vote in each chamber.

The pros of this type of judicial selection include:  ensuring that the judges are accountable to the people because those who selected them are subject to public vote, allows candidates to be effectively screened, knowledgeable people select the judges, reduces the need to campaign and the legislature is held accountable for the judges that they select.  Thus, ensuring accountability is a major reason for the legislative election of judges.

The cons of this type of selection include:  the judiciary may be partisan, the people to not have a direct say in the judges on the bench, and the judges may be to closely connected to certain members of the legislature and thus not be unbiased.  Thus, the major drawback is that it leads to biased judges who represent a certain political party.

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