Selection of Judges Discussion

Selection of Judges:

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In the federal court system, judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Judges who are appointed can only be removed through impeachment proceedings. In the state court system, judges can be appointed (like the federal system), elected, or some mix of the two. If judges are elected, they can be voted out of office during the next election cycle.

The conflict over which system is better has been present throughout our country’s history. For example, President Hamilton was in favor of “democratizing” the Court system; he argued that the success of the system depended on the ability of citizens (not the elite) to hold the power to elect judges. That is, the election of judges might be preferred because it’s possible that then judges aren’t beholden to influence. A historical example could be President Roosevelt legislative proposal in the 1930s to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court (Justices he would have nominated). Many people believed this was an effort to obtain more favorable decisions on his New Deal policies (many of which had been struck down by the current justices). Both elections and appointments come with their benefits and drawbacks.

The also represents the conflict between judicial independence and judicial misconduct. Judges should be independent entities, but, there’s value in being able to remove a judge who is no longer fit for office (misconduct).

Consider the following in your original post:

1. What are the benefits and drawbacks of appointing judges?

2. What are the benefits and drawbacks of electing judges?

3. Consider this in terms of the balance between judicial independence and judicial


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