Judges are expected to satisfy two conflicting ideals. First, they are to follow the law without fear or favor, regardless of personal sympathies and preferences, to "adjudicate" rather than to "legislate." Second, they are to reach results that are preferred by or at least acceptable to their communities. The first ideal requires judicial independence and job security. Elective judgeships are sometimes defended as serving the second. We have gone through a third public examination of a Supreme Court nominee in which the Senate and the public considered it important to question the nominee about his views of the major issues on the Court's contemporary agenda. Such public examinations do not occur in the states. The reason is not that state court decisions are unimportant or uncontroversial, but very few states follow the model of executive appointment and legislative confirmation. This article examines the predicament of elected Judges in satisfying the two ideals. It concludes by suggesting some strategies that can be used to help maintain the balance between judicial independence and judicial elections.
Hans A. Linde,
The Judge as Political Candidate,
40 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol40/iss1/3