Judges for Sale
“Economic Crisis and the Rise of Judicial Elections and Judicial Review” by Jed Handelsman Shugerman, in Harvard Law Review, March 2010.
It’s one of the ugliest warts on the U.S. body politic: About 90 percent of America’s state judges are chosen in elections. Inevitably, some of them wander into the political swamps. One successful candidate for the West Virginia Supreme Court in the 1990s accepted $3 million in contributions from a corporate executive seeking to overturn a multimillion-dollar verdict. Elected magistrates also tend to be reluctant to enforce principles that antagonize the voting public. The irony is that when it swept the nation in the 19th century, the movement to make state judgeships elected positions was seen as a way to create a more independent judiciary.
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