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The Five Methods of State Judicial Selection

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Partisan election of judges involves election of a candidate affiliated to a political party, while in non-partisan elections, the candidate is not formally associated with a political party. Only eight states in the United States of America elect their supreme justices in partisan elections. It represents 19 percent of 338 Supreme Court justices. Though non-partisan election is preferred, each method has its flaws.

Partisan election of judges faces several problems. According to LeRoy (2010), partisan judicial elections affect administration of justice. Employers expand their influence by strategically supporting judges who run for office so that they may be favored in arbitrator rulings (LeRoy, 2010). Secondly, these judges may be forced accept the decisions made by sponsoring political parties even if the decisions are unconstitutional. Thirdly, election of judges is not compatible with independent and strong judiciary, thus undermining public confidence in the judiciary. Next, the choice of selection determines which individual becomes a judge. Chances are that it is not the right people get the seats as judges. In addition, the judges make rulings to please majority of the electorate. They do this in order to be re-elected in future. Partisan election of judges is unpopular with the minority groups, as they cannot decide which candidate to represent them.

Non-partisan election of judges also has its limitations, one is that the judges are appointed and not elected by the citizens; they therefore may not represent the needs of the people. Secondly, it leads to political pressure on judges due to advertisement of positions by interest groups and in situations where judges take positions on issues. Next is that partisan judges are sensitive to making decisions against public opinion as their policies are known by decisions they make on the bench. According to Cardorone, Canes-Wrone and Clark (2009), non-partisan elections only create incentives for judges on public opinion. It does not create independence and stability of the judiciary. It is on these limitations that it has made it difficult for the county to decide on which method to use to get the right people in the judiciary.

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