Argument: Political style will replace merit with election of judges

Issue Report: Election of judges


“The Election of Judges”. Choosing Hope. August 18, 2006
Personally I question the wisdom of popularly electing judges. I want qualified judges who have gone through a thoughtful review process, not pretty faces who are good at waging an election campaign. Further, the majority of the electorate simply isn’t interested in doing the research necessary to make a truly informed decision.

John Baer. “Time to end electing judges”. Philadelphia Daily News. May 20, 2009: “Pittsburgh lawyer Barbara Ernsberger, for example, twice lost races for Allegheny County judge and is the only statewide candidate “not recommended” by the state bar’s Judicial Evaluation Commission. I figured she must have murdered someone since the bar’s pretty generous in its recommendations. Turns out the commission said she lacks experience and judicial temperament.But she’s a female from western Pennsylvania, two advantages in judicial races, and second on a ballot of six Democrats vying for two Commonwealth Court seats. History says she has a good chance and late last night, with 79.2 percent of the statewide vote counted, she was running first in the field of six.Also, judicial races are unseemly. Campaigns are funded by lawyers who later appear before the judges they help elect. So even apart from the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey (or elephant) aspect of the process, electing judges begs for politics to influence justice.Just the possibility that it will is enough to diminish faith in our courts.”