John Oliver on Elected Judges

We discussed the extremely funny John Oliver in class for a little bit this past week, and coincidentally he did a segment recently covering the elections of state and local level judges. He explains that many states allow their entire electorate to vote for judges on state level courts, and goes on to highlight the serious economic and ethical costs that arise because of these elections. Hilarity of course ensues, but he brings up serious points on the merits of appointing judges versus the merits of electing judges, and the serious concerns of money and interest groups in judicial campaigns.

So what is the best way to select judges? Should we elect them, and make the process as democratic as possible? Or should we consistently use the Supreme Court method wherein a Governor appoints a judge and the state legislatures confirm them? Or is there a better alternative that we have yet to consider? Whatever the best option is, John Oliver opened my eyes to a problem in our states’ judicial systems, and I hope this can begin a serious debate on how to better select judges to these extremely significant, powerful, and serious positions.

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One Response to John Oliver on Elected Judges

  1. cindylyon says:

    Thank you for finding and posting such a hilarious video. I wasn’t familiar with John Oliver before this but will definitely check him out now. Most of what was brought up in the video I had never even heard of – which is not good! The corruption this could lead to is scary. I think Oliver says it best when he says, that faith in a strong judicial system is essential to a civilized society. Without that faith, we have a problem. What scares me most is people having faith in a system they probably shouldn’t. Like I mentioned, I didn’t even know about half of the things mentioned in this video. And I’d bet I’m not alone. While I feel it’s important that our judiciary isn’t so disconnected from what’s going on in the real world, i also don’t think anybody with a spare buck should be able to influence their decisions.

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