In what sense is the judicial branch in California "political"?
A. All judges in California are elected in partisan elections.
B. All judges in the state are appointed for life by the governor.
C. Judges make policy through their interpretation of laws.
D. Active and retired judges campaign heavily for their colleagues, who must run for reelection every gubernatorial election.
E. judges get to pick which cases they want to try.
The best answer to this question is Option C. Even though people often say that the judicial branch does not make laws, it actually does engage in a form of law-making when it interprets the laws. Furthermore, the other options for this question are not correct.
Options A and B are both simply false. No judges in the state of California are appointed for life. Judges in the federal system are appointed for life, but not in the state system. On the other hand, judges do not run in partisan elections. Judges who do have to run for election do so in a non-partisan manner. Option D is likewise wrong because judges do not all have to run every four years. In fact, the shortest term for state judges is 6 years. Finally, Option E is wrong because not all judges get to pick which cases they will hear. Only the Supreme Court gets to do that.
Option C is the only one left, so it must be correct. In addition, judges do engage in political decisions to some degree because their decisions determine what the law will actually mean. In this way, they are making laws and we can say that the judicial branch is political.