What are the pros and cons of the merit appointment system of selecting judges?What are the pros and cons of the merit appointment system of selecting judges?

7 Answers

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I agree.  Judges should not be politically elected, because it would be disastrous to have judges act as politicians do.  It is bad enough that politically-inspired laws can be passed by legislators who are beholden to the interest groups that got them elected, we do not also need judges who have to interpret the law in a certain way in order to remain elected.  In my opinion, district attorneys and judges should not be popularly elected on regular, short terms.

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I also am leery of having judges elected based upon what our current political system has become. I would fear that a judge that is elected would owe a debt to his political supporters.

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Unfortunately, we (voters) often choose our elected officials based on superficial elements such as appearance, name, simple recognition rather than merit. If that's a bad thing when it comes to our government representatives, it's a horrible thing for our judges.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

As the purpose of a judicial system is impartial interpretation of the law, merit is everything.  I would much rather have a constitutional scholar, a judge with vast experience in the law itself, than someone with a pretty face and a good election slogan who knows how to be popular.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The above two posts make it completely clear that it would be very dangerous to elect judges as politicians are elected. To carry out their duties as a judge it is vital that they are impartial, and the party political system and method of voting would guarantee that they would lack that necessary impartiality that is needed.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In concurrence, judges should not be part of the political system, for then they are beholden to someone and may not be impartial as they should.

The fault of any alliance to a political thinking is evidenced in the Supreme Court appointments as presidents appoint judges with whom they will have an alliance of ideology.  History has recorded cases in which certain judges of the Supreme Court have, in their single presence or in their single absence, made the difference in a ruling.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As far as I am concerned, there are a lot of pros and really no cons that I think are valid concerns.

The pros are numerous, but what they boil down to is that you want your judges to make their decisions based on the law, not based on what public opinion says or what people who can contribute lots of money to campaigns think.  If you have a non-political body set up to recommend potential appointees (and you let the governor pick which one(s) to actually appoint) then the potential appointees will be selected on legal expertise, not for political reasons.

The only con I can see is that this takes some power away from the voters.  However, I do not think that the voters are the ones who should decide how to interpret the laws.